AXA Investment Managers has changed its internal research capabilities in the Framlington Equities unit to integrate five themes that it believes will have a major impact on future returns.
The firm said the five themes will shape the way companies operate in the future as a result of the evolving economy and will offer growth opportunities to investors over a multi-decade time horizon.
The five themes include "ageing and lifestyle" led by Dani Saruymper, which focuses on opportunities from higher life expectancy, while the "connected consumer" theme, headed up by Jeremy Gleeson, covers the e-commerce value chain.
"Automation", led by Tom Riley, looks at the adoption of robotics across all industries; "cleantech", fronted by Amanda O'Toole, covers sustainable resources management and "transitioning societies", led by Anne Tolmunen, studies the changing consumption patters in developed and emerging markets.
Mark Beveridge, global head of Framlington Equities at AXA IM, said one key reason for the change was because companies were increasingly becoming multi-sector businesses which meant traditional sector definitions did not apply so much.
Beveridge said: "Equity investment is changing. While globalisation has made geographical listing less relevant for investors, sector definitions have also not evolved over time; the reality is that markets and companies have.
"Knowing companies, meeting their management teams and being a long-term active manager is essential in identifying companies that are exposed to these growth themes.
"We are convinced that the themes we have identified will accelerate over the next decade and believe investors have to adapt. In recognition we have adapted our internal research capabilities by identifying five main long-term growth thematics within the ‘evolving economy'."
Mark Hargraves, head of global strategies at AXA Framlington Equities, added: "Ultimately by adapting our internal research focus this enables us to optimise research activities to fully capture the investment implications of these five thematics that are influencing the global economy.
"This provides an additional way to identify true growth companies with pricing power and competitive advantage, without being constrained by the traditional barriers of sectors. Many companies are no longer respectful of these sectors and are changing, so are we."