AXA IM poaches another UBS infra director

The firm has built on its appointment of Mark Gilligan as head of infrastructure equity in October as it chases an ‘increasingly attractive’ asset class.

AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets has appointed Jeffrey Woodard as principal in the infrastructure equity team in its latest hire focused on infrastructure.

The real assets arm of the French insurer secured the appointment of Woodard from UBS Asset Management, where he was working since 2000. Woodard spent the past 10 years as UBS’ executive director of its infrastructure equity, private markets and real estate division, a post which has included sitting on the boards of Norwegian gas transmission system operator Njord Gas and Greensands Holding, the holding company of UK-based Southern Water.

In his role leading origination and investment in a variety of transport, energy, water, digital and social infrastructure investments in western Europe, Woodard will be reunited with former UBS colleague Mark Gilligan, who joined as AXA IM’s head of infrastructure equity in October from a similar role at UBS. Woodard will be reporting to Gilligan.

The new role created for Woodard builds on AXA IM’s appointment of Ruulke Bagijn as global head of real assets private equity 12 months ago, who was hired to focus on building the company’s infrastructure equity strategy.

“The infrastructure sector is becoming increasingly attractive as an asset class, and we are excited to be able to leverage our capabilities to build a diversified portfolio of assets that will aim to deliver long-term stable income,” Bagijn said on Woodard’s hire. 

The revamped team made its first investment in November, when it bought a 42 percent stake in France’s A63 motorway operator from InfraRed Capital Partners alongside Crédit Agricole Assurances.

Elsewhere in AXA IM’s infrastructure activities, the company reached a €730 million first close on its €1.5 billion European infrastructure debt fund late last year. The fund is expected to close before the end of H1.