AXAWF Global High Yield Bds E Cap EUR H

Analyst Report
Morningstar's Take

by Evangelia Gkeka
AXA WF Global High Yield Bond offers investors exposure to a differentiated and historically well-executed approach to high-yield investing. The Morningstar Analyst Rating for the strategy’s clean share class (F Cap USD) remains at Neutral. The cheapest share class is rated Bronze, while the most expensive share class is rated Negative.

The strategy had been managed by Carl Whitbeck and James Gledhill from July 2012 to July 2021. Whitbeck was based in Connecticut and responsible for US high-yield exposure; he was also managing AXAWF US High Yield Bond. Gledhill was based in London and responsible for the European high-yield exposure of the portfolio.

Since August 2021 and after Whitbeck’s death and Gledhill’s departure, the portfolio managers/credit analysts who supported them in the day-to-day management of the portfolios took over leadership here.

Michael Graham, who joined AXA in 2007 and worked alongside Whitbeck since then, has been appointed head of US high yield and is now lead manager. Graham is supported by Robert Houle, US high yield portfolio manager, who has been a member of the team since 2005, and Yves Berger, who joined the firm in 2007 and is a portfolio manager focusing on European high yield. In January 2022 Chris Ellis joined from Artemis as a portfolio manager on the European high-yield side. Moreover, the team has access to an experienced high-yield credit analyst team of 10 (six in the United States, four in the United Kingdom) plus the wider credit resources of AXA.

The team’s structured and well-executed approach is based on capturing income from high-yield bonds while avoiding principal loss. The process is largely driven by bottom-up fundamental analysis. Portfolio positioning is implemented through a barbell approach combining weaker (B to CCC) credits with short-maturity bonds, a differentiated process. Geographic allocation and sector exposure are secondary drivers, with the latter generally reflecting the team's preference for companies with stable business models and predictable cash flows.

The strategy has consistently outperformed its peers on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis, providing evidence that the process has added value over the long term.
Morningstar Medalist Rating™Continued execution of the process under new leadership.
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Morningstar Pillars
ProcessAbove Average
Morningstar Medalist RatingMorningstar assigns the Medalist Rating to funds that are qualitatively and quantitatively assessed through manager research and algorithmic processes. The assessment turns on three key “pillars” – People, Process, and Parent – that yield an estimate of how well a fund will perform before fees but after adjusting for risk.
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