Manulife Financial Signs Framework Cooperation Agreement with Bank of China

TORONTO/BEIJING, Nov. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial Corporation and Bank of China announced today the signing of a new framework agreement between the two companies.  The deal marks another step forward in a relationship that has blossomed over the last 12 months.  The agreement will strengthen cooperation in areas such as insurance custody and bancassurance in China, and other business arrangements in North America.  The framework comes into force with immediate effect and will run for a minimum of two years. 

The signing ceremony took place at Bank of China's headquarters in Beijing.  It was presided over by Mr. Donald Guloien, President and CEO of Manulife Financial, and Mr. Marc Sterling, Executive Vice-President of Manulife Financial and Chairman of Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance.   Bank of China was represented by Mr. Chen Siqing, Executive Vice-President, and Mr. Xu Chen, General Manager, Financial Institution Department.   The signing was witnessed by Ms. Sarah Taylor, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada. Both Mr. Guloien and Mr. Chen signed the agreement.

"As more and more Chinese and Canadian companies and citizens look to each other's home country for business opportunities, academic pursuits or simply as a holiday destination, we view closer cooperation between Bank of China and Manulife as an opportunity to realize business opportunities together," said Mr. Guloien in his speech at the signing ceremony.

Mr. Guloien also noted that China is an important market for Manulife, and the bancassurance partnership between Manulife's joint venture life insurance company, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance (MSL) and Bank of China will be an important source for future growth.  In May 2011, MSL signed a bancassurance distribution agreement with Bank of China.   This has paved the way for MSL's products to be distributed via Bank of China in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.   Additionally, Bank of China is also a major custodian and distributor of Manulife Financial's joint venture fund management company, Manulife-TEDA Fund Management.

Mr. Chen said, "I strongly believe that, Bank of China will continue to adhere to its customer-oriented banking philosophy, constantly and consistently offering high quality and efficient financial services to all customers. We are confident that this mutually beneficial cooperation will further promote our business development and achieve win-win prospects for both institutions."

Mr. Sterling said, "MSL has built up a strong franchise in China, and currently celebrating its 15th Anniversary.  We feel it a privilege to have been able to help hundreds of thousands of Chinese make some of their most important financial decisions during that time.   We are thankful that they have chosen MSL and look forward to providing the same high quality service and products to Bank of China's customers."

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group operating in 21 countries and territories worldwide. For more than 120 years, clients 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. We provide asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in property and casualty retrocession. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$492billion (US$473 billion) as at September 30, 2011. 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 manulife.com.

About Manulife-Sinochem

Manulife-Sinochem is a joint-venture company between Manulife (International) Limited and the China Foreign Economy and Trade Trust Company (a member of the Sinochem group). It was the first Chinese-foreign joint-venture life insurance company established in China and began operations in November 1996. To date the Company has more than 14,000 professionally trained agents and employees, providing financial and insurance services to more than 650,000 customers. The company is now developing in 49 cities in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shandong, Fujian, Chongqing, Liaoning, Tianjin and Hubei. With more than ten years' successful experience, Manulife-Sinochem is committed to offering comprehensive insurance products combined with excellent customer service and professionalism.  Manulife-Sinochem can be found on the internet at www.manulife-sinochem.com.

About Manulife TEDA Fund Management Company

Manulife TEDA Fund Management Co., Ltd is one of the earliest joint-venture fund management companies in China, and was originally established in June 2002. The Company's equity structure is as follows: Northern International Trust & Investment Corporation Limited holds 51%; a unit of Manulife Financial Group, Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited holds 49%. Currently, the Company manages a comprehensive product line with 16 mutual funds.  Current registered capital of the Company is 180 million RMB.

SOURCE Manulife Financial

For further information:

Anthony Wilson-Smith
416-852-8899
anthony_wilson-smith@manulife.com
Laurie Lupton
416-852-7792
laurie_lupton@manulife.com
   
In China:
Margaret Wang
Manulife-Sinochem, Public Relations
Tel: (86) 21 5359 4770 - 8624
Fax: (86) 21 6362 0189
Margaret_wang@manulife-sinochem.com
In Asia:
David Norris
Manulife Financial, Regional Communications
Tel: (852) 2202 1749
Fax: (852) 2510 5889
david_norris@manulife.com

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