(Updates with comments about India from seventh paragraph.)
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest insurer, plans to increase its staff by about two-thirds over the next year in Indonesia to take advantage of demand for insurance, mutual fund and asset-management products.
Manulife has about 1,200 people in the republic and wants to add another 800 over the next year, said Philip Hampden- Smith, executive vice-president and general manager of Southeast Asia.
“We have to make sure we position ourselves for the opportunity we’re creating,” Hampden-Smith said in an interview from Malaysia. “It illustrates our willingness to work in this business.”
Indonesia is one of the fastest-growing areas for Manulife in Southeast Asia, said Hampden-Smith. Last month, the company announced a partnership with PT Bank Danamon that will offer banking, insurance and wealth-management products to Danamon customers beginning next year.
“Demographically, Indonesia is very hard to argue against,” said Hampden-Smith, who oversees Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. “You’ve got 250 million people, you’ve got massive economic strength. It’s politically very important that Indonesia does well to the western world.”
Manulife, which has been in Asia for 115 years, had net income of C$623 million ($595.1 million) from the continent last year. Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien has said annual profit from Asia will reach C$1.5 billion by 2015.
Although Manulife would like to establish a presence in India, it will wait for clarity on new government restrictions.
“We want to see how that regulation plays out,” said Hampden-Smith. “When and if we decide to go into India, we’d be more likely to be dealing with rational potential partners, and have a better idea ourselves of the landscape.”
Manulife received approval this month to establish a life insurer in Cambodia from the government’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, which will be the 11th Asian region in which the company operates.
--Editor: David Scanlan
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