Governance and Control at AXA

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR224
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1991-2006
Organization : AXA
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : France
Themes: Corporate Governance | Control
Industry : Banking & Financial Services

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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AXA - Efforts To Decentralize

AXA ensured that the principles of good corporate governance were implemented across the group. All the subsidiaries were governed by a board, which included non-executive directors. An audit committee with independent members also oversaw the functioning of the subsidiaries. All the subsidiaries were made aware of the group's strategy, operational objectives, reporting lines and accountability for organizational objectives. Formal guidelines for business and operations were in place along with a written code of ethics, anti-fraud, and anti-laundering policies. All the subsidiaries of AXA prepared three-year forecasts. AXA aimed at exercising control over the forecasts developed by the subsidiaries by subjecting the forecasts to critical review.

After the review, any adjustments that were required were made. A consolidated forecast was prepared that was used as the group's budget. Based on these, the objectives and annual targets of each of the operating units were arrived at. The subsidiaries of AXA presented details of their strategic position, performance review, quantitative targets like revenue, expenses, profitability, etc., about each of their business segments. Also forming part of the presentation was sensitivity analysis considering macro-economic conditions and specific plans for HR, IT, and other aspects...

The Benefits

AXA reaped several benefits by striking a balance between centralization and decentralization of its operations. The company had firm control over some of the most important activities and was able to steer the subsidiaries toward the growth path.

At the same time, the subsidiaries were free to carry out their day-to-day operations. Due to geographical diversification, the group's volatility of earnings went down. AXA was able to replicate the best practices in one country in other countries and thus obtain a competitive advantage over local players...


Exhibit I: AXA - Business Segments
Exhibit II: AXA - Insurance Revenue by Region/Country
Exhibit III: AXA - Supervisory Board Committees

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