AXA Investment Management has nabbed former Mercer Global CIO Tim Gardener to head global consultant relations, the firm said today.

In his new role, Gardener, a 33-year veteran of the Marsh & McLennan financial services subsidiary, will be responsible for the development and “strategic direction” of consultant relations globally. He will be based in London and assume his position in the fall, the Aug. 10 press release explained.

Sarah Dennehy, an AXA IM spokesperson, said through an email this morning that Gardener’s post is newly created. She added that the senior role within the firm’s distribution team is in line “with one of AXA IM's key strategic priorities to develop and grow its institutional business.”

“Tim has a highly regarded and recognized profile in the institutional investment sphere and we are delighted to have him on board at AXA IM,” Jon Bailie, global head of distribution for the AXA Group subsidiary, said in the release. “Tim’s appointment demonstrates the attractiveness of the AXA IM brand and business model, and its ability to attract talent of such high quality.”

According to the announcement, Gardener’s presence will be vital in strengthening AXA’s interaction with consultants across all asset classes and geographies.

“The appointment of such an influential and extensively experienced professional re-asserts the importance that AXA IM places on the continued growth and development of its relationships with consultants and its institutional business across the globe,” Bailie stated in his comments.

In prior roles, Gardener also served as the global head of investment consulting at Mercer. He was previously employed at Duncan C. Fraser, which was bought over by the firm in 1986, the release said.

As of June 30, the multi-expert asset management company has nearly €524 or $687 billion in assets under management.

Looking towards the future, Mercer spokesperson Stephanie Poe said in an email that the firm is looking to appoint a new CIO for its investment consulting and management business in the coming months. Gardener has held the lead international investment officer role since 2008.

Alternately, she said Director of Consulting Divyesh Hindocha will “lead on intellectual capital arrangements” within Mercer's investment consulting business.

“In the meantime, we are taking the opportunity to step back and look at a number of elements of our structure, now that the initiative to upgrade our intellectual capital processes has been completed,” Poe said.