The role sees Mr Manser become responsible for AXA IM's funds of hedge funds and of its single hedge fund platform, as well as supporting the development of hedge fund activities in the other investment franchises.
Mr Manser will replace Veronique Courlier who left the firm last month over a difference in opinion in change in the hedge fund strategy.
AXA IM CEO Dominique Carrel-Billiard said: "AXA IM is committed to growing its hedge funds business with the continued development of our funds of hedge fund platform and of our single hedge fund activities.
"The combination of AXA IM and Winterthur hedge fund assets gives us an excellent basis for that growth."
She also welcomed Mr Manser, who joins from Winterthur Insurance where he built up a "strong investment track record" and "successfully built a team that contributed to Winterthur's bottom-line."
Mr Manser will be based in Zurich and oversee teams in London, Paris and Zurich.