Manulife Asset Management Successfully Fulfils US$200M QFII Quota

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    Company Wins China A-Share Mandate From Air Canada And Signs New
    Distribution Agreements In Asia




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HONG KONG, Feb. 1, 2011 /CNW/ -- Manulife Asset Management today announces that it has successfully fulfilled its US$200 million Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) quota. The quota, which was granted by China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) in June 2010, allows the company to offer global investors investment strategies that tap the growth potential of China's A-share equity and domestic bond markets.

One of the first investors to sign up was Air Canada Pension Investments, on behalf of employees for Canada's largest full-service airline, who awarded Manulife Asset Management a US$40 million mandate. The mandate sees Manulife Asset Management manage China A-share investments for the Air Canada Pension Investments. The Plan is a defined benefit pension scheme provided for over 25,000 Air Canada employees and currently has a total of US$10.5 billion in assets under management.

Nelson Lam, Vice President, External Managers at Air Canada Pension Investments: "This investment represents an opportunity to diversify our portfolio and increase our exposure to emerging markets. As a foreign investor, it is important for us to be able to take advantage of local investment expertise in China's dynamic market but given the complexities of investing in A-shares, it was also vital that we find a manager with global standards of investment process and risk management. This strategy from Manulife Asset Management and its Beijing-based investment team at Manulife TEDA combines all these elements to help us achieve our objectives."

In addition to gaining new institutional clients for these strategies, Manulife Asset Management has also secured new distribution agreements with leading retail distributors in Singapore. These include Bank of Singapore and iFAST.

Explaining the significance of these agreements, Michael Dommermuth, President and Head of Asia at Manulife Asset Management said: "China continues to top many investors' agenda however, navigating the domestic equity and bond markets as a foreign investor is not easy. We found many investors, from within Asia and globally, were looking for a strong and experienced asset manager with the on-the-ground expertise in China necessary to harness the potential of these markets."

He continued: "Of the US$200 million total quota, the company allocated US$140 million to the China A-share strategy and US$60 million to the RMB bond strategy. Both were oversubscribed and this clearly underlines the enduring investment interest in China's markets from pension funds and individuals alike."

Today's announcement follows an important year for Manulife Asset Management in China. In March, the company(1) acquired a 49% stake in Manulife TEDA, a leading Beijing-based asset management company. In June, it(1) received the US$200 million QFII quota while Manulife TEDA was granted a US$500 million Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) quota. These moves build on Manulife's existing China investment experience which includes more than 14 years of investing in the country's domestic bond markets via its life insurance joint venture in Shanghai, Manulife-Sinochem. Manulife first began operations in China in 1897.

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    Notes to editors:

    Manulife Advanced Fund - China A-Share Fund

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The China A-Share Fund invests in stocks listed in China's A-share equity markets on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. It is managed by Manulife Asset Management's Greater China equities team of Matthew Lee and Terrace Chum in Hong Kong, sub-advised by Manulife TEDA in Beijing. The fund seeks to harness the unique exposure of the A-share market to industries and companies that are not represented on markets normally available to non-QFII investors. The fund is US$140 million in size.

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    Manulife Advanced Fund - RMB bond fund

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The RMB Bond fund taps into China's bond market, the second largest in Asia after Japan, to offer investors the potential for both income and growth on their investment. The fund is managed by Ronald Chan and Paula Chan in Manulife Asset Management's Hong Kong-based Fixed Income team and is US$60 million in size. The fund is denominated in US dollars.

(1) Manulife Asset Management (Asia) is a division of Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong), which acquired Manulife TEDA and which was granted the QFII license.

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    About Manulife Asset Management

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Manulife Asset Management(TM) is the global asset management arm of Manulife Financial. Manulife Asset Management and its affiliates provide comprehensive asset management solutions for institutional investors and investment funds in key markets around the world. This investment expertise extends across a full range of asset classes including equity, fixed income and alternative investments such as real estate, timber, farmland, as well as asset allocation strategies.

Manulife Asset Management has offices with full investment capabilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, it has a joint venture asset management business in China, Manulife TEDA. It also has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay. As at September 30, 2010, assets under management for institutional clients were Cdn$121 billion (US$118 billion). Additional information about Manulife Asset Management can be found at ManulifeAM.com.

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    About Manulife Financial

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Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 22 countries and territories worldwide. For more than 120 years, clients worldwide have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients around the world. We provide asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in life and property and casualty retrocession. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were $474 billion (US$460 billion) as at September 30, 2010. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

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SOURCE Manulife Asset Management

For further information: For Manulife Asset Management in Asia: Catherine Battershill (Hong Kong), Tel: +852 2202 1634, catherine_battershill@manulifeam.com; or For Manulife Asset Management in North America: Brian Carmichael (Boston, USA), Tel: +1-617-663-4748, bcarmichael@jhancock.com Web Site: http://www.manulife.com


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