Bloomberg News

Manulife ‘Gearing Up’ U.S. 401(k) Business, Guloien Says

June 22, 2012

Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC) plans to expand its 401(k) business in the U.S. to benefit from a growing number of Americans planning for their retirement, Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien said.

Manulife, Canada’s largest insurer, has been focusing on “small-case” 401(k) plans, offered to employers with 500 or fewer workers, Guloien said today in an interview in Toronto.

“We want to move up now into the middle market and get the same kind of share in the middle market that we have in the small-case market,” Guloien said. “We’re gearing up to do exactly that.”

While Manulife has pegged much of its expansion strategy on a growing middle class in Asia, the owner of Boston-based John Hancock Financial also seeks to increase its U.S. wealth- management business. The U.S. accounted for half the company’s C$8.7 billion ($8.5 billion) in wealth sales during the first quarter.

“The market is going to be growing,” said Guloien, 55. “More and more people are concerned about their retirement. Americans are saving more.”

Manulife will boost its 401(k) business in part by expanding the distribution platform, Guloien said. The Toronto- based company has spent “millions of dollars to prepare ourselves for the market,” he said.

Manulife shares rose 0.2 percent to close at C$10.86 in Toronto. The firm’s shares are little changed this year, compared with a 3 percent increase in the S&P/TSX Life & Health Insurance Index. (STLIFE)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net


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