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AXA Alternative Advisors co-founders launch new company

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has entered into an advisory agreement with NY-based Celestar Capital Advisors, LLC (Celestar), a newly formed company focused on alternative assets. 

Celestar was founded in September 2003 by Managing Partners Farzine Hachemian and Barry Seeman, ex-co-Heads and co-Founders of AXA Alternative Advisors. 

Celestar will provide advisory services, including fund analysis and selection, to AXA IM's fund of hedge funds operation, AXA Alternative Advisors. AXA Alternative Advisors, based in New York and in Paris, manages approximately USD 600 million.

Philippe Mimran, based in Paris, and Olivier Philippart, based in New York, are now co-Heads of AXA Alternative Advisors.  Both report to Odette Cesari, Head of Structured and Alternative Investment Management (SAIM) within AXA IM. SAIM is responsible for providing AXA Alternative Advisors with portfolio and risk management, structuring expertise and client servicing and reporting.

AXA IM's commitment to Celestar will ensure continuity for AXA Alternative Advisors by maintaining a single operating platform where Seeman and Hachemian will continue to provide a high level of expertise in the analysis and selection of funds.

Celestar will also provide AXA IM with in-depth due diligence and manager monitoring and administration services related to the current offerings of AXA Alternative Advisors in hedge funds and commodity trading advisors (CTAs).

Odette Cesari, Head of Structured and Alternative Investment Management at AXA Investment Managers said: "Fund of hedge funds is an expertise AXA IM wants to develop to meet strong institutional demand.  As the universe of hedge funds available for investment multiplies and institutional assets under management increase, analysis work becomes more complex. This outsourcing agreement will enable AXA Alternative Advisors to raise the level of its expertise in the management of fund of hedge funds portfolios by increasing capacity for and enhancing selection, allocation and risk control."

"Similarly, the seamless integration of Celestar's advisory services within the AXA Alternative Advisors operating model and the high degree of confidence between both teams ensures the maintenance of a high standard of service to our current clients and to new investors. We are very pleased to be able to continue working with Barry and Farzine and are confident that this agreement between AXA and Celestar will prove to be very successful."

Farzine Hachemian, Co-Managing Partner of Celestar, said: "Our decision to start this new venture was based upon the evolution of the alternative asset market and the increasing demand for investment opportunities by a wide variety of investors.  Institutional investors, in particular, have increasing requirements for superior manager and fund analysis. Celestar has the capability to bridge this gap in the market and to provide a greater depth and range of expertise in providing investment solutions to investors."

Background Note: AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is a multi-specialist asset management company within the AXA Group, a world leader in financial protection and wealth management. AXA IM is one of the largest European-based asset managers with approximately USD 272 billion under management. AXA IM employs over 2,100 people and serves clients in eleven countries.

Within AXA IM, the SAIM division is responsible for all hedge fund, fund of hedge funds and structured product activities.  With USD 22 billion under management the division employs 55 people  with operations in London, Paris and New York.  The division is headed by Odette Cesari.

Copyright Hedgeweek 2003


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