Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) announced an agreement yesterday with AIC Limited to acquire that company’s Canadian retail investment fund business.

As per the terms of the agreement, all AIC funds in Canada would be managed by Manulife Mutual Funds, while AIC would carry on working as a fund sub-advisor for Manulife Mutual Funds.

We believe that this acquisition will considerably add to Manulife’s scale and strengthen its position in the retail investment fund market in Canada. The company expects its retail fund assets under management to grow to around $13.7 billion for Canadians as a result of this acquisition.

Manulife’s wealth management business has been severely impacted by the turbulence in the equity market on a global basis. During the second quarter, wealth sales were down 11% year over year or 19% on a constant currency basis.

While the company reported strong sales in fixed products in the U.S. and Canada, it was more than offset by the decrease in variable product sales across Manulife’s footprints. Sales of variable annuity, which are typically equity-related products, declined 30% year-over-year in the second quarter as a result of the company’s risk management initiatives and weak economic conditions.

As a result of the severe downturn in the equity market in the last few quarters, the balance sheets of insurance and wealth management companies have been challenged. Besides Manulife, the balance sheets have been impacted adversely for many other companies such as Principal Financial Group (PFG), Lincoln Financial Group (LNC) and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG). However, we think that the recent rebound in the equity markets should provide some relief to these companies.
Read the full analyst report on “MFC”
Read the full analyst report on “PFC”
Read the full analyst report on “LNC”
Read the full analyst report on “HIG”
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