AXA Investment Managers announces launch of EasyETF EPRA Eurozone on Euronext Paris (EUR)

Today, AXA Investment Managers announces that EasyETF EPRA Eurozone, the first tracker on the range of real-estate indices established by the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA), is now trading on the NextTrack segment of Euronext.

With the introduction of this innovative fund, AXA IM makes a new asset class available to investors and becomes Europe’s top issuer in a sector in which it offers both extensive expertise and a full range. AXA IM covers all types of real-estate assets, both unquoted (AXA REIM) and quoted, via actively managed funds (AXA Aedificandi), passively managed funds (EasyETF EPRA Eurozone), structured products and mandates.

Background and details
Last January 14, AXA IM announced it had signed an exclusive license to launch exchange-traded funds (trackers) on the EPRA indices. The EPRA Eurozone was launched in May of 2000 in response to demand for a broad real-time index based on clear criteria. The only index that is managed and constructed by real-estate professionals, EPRA is considered to be the best benchmark for this asset class. After signing, AXA IM began preparing for the launch of Easy ETF EPRA Eurozone. It received commercial agreement from AMF on October 22nd and the listing authorisation on Euronext Paris on November 25th.

Euronext, one of Europe’s leading exchanges for trackers, was selected to build the product’s benchmark platform. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both support the initiative, and have agreed to serve as official market makers for this new product. Merrill Lynch has opted to participate in the fund, and AXA IM is also delighted to welcome the Dutch investment bank Kempen & Co.

The development of such an innovative product in this market demonstrates the maturity of the listed real-estate sector. Since the fund was established on July 8th in Luxembourg, it has provided a return of 13.90%.

Bruno Guiot, Head of EasyETF development at AXA IM, noted: “The launch of this product attests to the maturity of the real-estate sector in Europe. For investors, the appeal of EasyETF EPRA Eurozone lies in its originality, transparency and liquidity. The fund will undoubtedly help to fuel interest in this asset class, which has something to offer to both retail and institutional investors.”

For Nick van Ommen, Chief Executive Officer of EPRA, “The launch of this ETF constitutes a huge leap forward for the European listed real-estate sector. By compiling the EPRA indices, we offer investors the tools needed to develop this asset class. We hope that these indices will be backed by other derivatives or structured products, marking the increasing use of real-estate as an asset class in its own right.”

Marianne Demarchi, Director of Business Development, Strategy and Products at Euronext, said: 'We are delighted that the first European exchange-traded fund based on a real-estate index is being listed on Euronext, and thank AXA Investment Managers for their trust. This latest addition extends our existing tracker range to an entirely new asset class.'

AXA Investment Managers’ tracker strategy
A trailblazer in the ETF market, AXA IM leads Europe in sector trackers. In 2003, its market share of assets under management was 35%, with assets growing by 45% and a total of asset under management of € 368.7 million. The EasyETF range of funds is managed by the dedicated Index Management team of AXA IM which currently represents assets of 13 billion euros. Since the launch of the range of funds in march 2002, the EasyETF range is now made of 15 trackers (3 trackers in the Top 50 range, 10 trackers in sectors range, 1 tracker on the ISR and the last one on EPRA Eurozone). This range of funds will be completed by an ETF on UK listed real-estate sometime in 2005.

Source: EPRA

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