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Meet the Investment Specialist - Q&A with Richard Jones

  • 26 January 2024 (5 min read)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What are your education and career experiences to date?

I am a Fixed Income Investment Specialist working with the portfolio managers from AXA IM’s Global Strategic Bonds and Europe Short Duration High Yield strategies. I joined the team in early 2023 and  am responsible for communicating investment teams’ outlook, Fund positioning and market views to AXA IM’s global sales and marketing teams and, ultimately, clients.

Previously I was part of AXA IM Core’s RFP team which set me up well for my current role. In the RFP team you gain a unique understanding of how AXA IM operates, what our clients want, who our competitors are and AXA IM’s investment capabilities and product set.

I studied Business Studies in my hometown at Leeds Beckett University graduating in 2015 and whilst working I have completed the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) and CFA Certificate in ESG Investing. I am now studying for my CFA Level 1 exam which I am sitting very soon. 


2. What is interesting about your role here at AXA IM and what motivates you to do well?

I need to stay up to date with the asset allocation and credit selection decisions of the portfolio managers I work with. I also need to understand this in the context of the market environment, so keeping abreast of global financial markets is a must.

Another key part of my role is being as proactive and creative as possible in promoting and steering the marketing message of the strategies I represent. The business development aspect of the role is something I really enjoy because I find it interesting and rewarding working with sales teams to serve a diverse range of clients.

 

I am motivated by the portfolio managers I work with, who trust me to represent their strategies. It’s also always exciting to work with our sales and marketing teams helping to grow assets.


3. How do you feel you complement the team’s skills and add value?

As an investment specialist you are very much a conduit between portfolio managers and sales people. Juggling several client requests, working on new business opportunities, writing commentaries and holding client meetings and events would all feature on any given day. In each of these activities we need to work closely with the portfolio managers to understand their views and allocations. We then ensure we are effectively communicating this and thus deliver the right message to promote our strategies to existing and prospective clients.

I am told I am good with people. It means I really enjoy being part of a collegiate, collaborative team and I always keep in mind that the more I can learn from the team and those around me, the better my value add is to the service we offer our clients. 


4. Since joining the Fixed Income team, what has surprised you the most?

As I’ve gotten more in-depth experience within the asset class, the full richness and diverse nature of fixed income has been a pleasant surprise. 2023 couldn’t have been a more opportune time to witness this and understand the nuances within fixed income. We saw a prolonged government bond sell-off starting in Q2 and culminating in October. While at the same time investment grade credit and high-yield credit surpassed people’s expectations. Government bonds then rallied aggressively from October, the extent of which drove up all markets.

Rather than fixed income being a single asset class, fixed income is a series of sub asset classes, ranging from government bonds to high-yield all with different risk return profiles and responding differently to varying market environments.  In other words, bonds aren’t boring! 


5. What does progress mean to you?

Continuing to develop my knowledge of fixed income and getting to know the asset class inside and out. I also hope to be able to play my part in attracting and growing the assets in AXA IM’s Global Strategic Bonds and Europe Short Duration High Yield strategies.

6. And aside from work, tell us something interesting about yourself that most people won’t know?

Whilst not a secret to many of my colleagues, I have become a very keen runner and I’m often the first to say the runner’s high does exist. I have recently signed up for the Amsterdam marathon and intend to achieve, or get as close to as I can, what many runners believe to be the holy grail – the sub 3 hour marathon!

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