Manulife Appoints Michael Bell Chief Financial Officer And Provides Capital Update

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial Corporation today announced
the appointment of Michael W. Bell as incoming Senior Executive Vice President
and Chief Financial Officer ("CFO"). His responsibilities will include
management and oversight of the Company's global financial affairs, including
Actuarial, Controllers, Taxation, Treasury, Investor Relations, Reinsurance as
well as other company-wide financial functions. Mr. Bell will report directly
to Manulife President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien and it is
expected he will join the Company on June 22 and take on his new duties in
    Mr. Bell will succeed Peter Rubenovitch, who will be retiring from
Manulife after 14 years of distinguished service. Donald Guloien said, "I
would like to thank Peter for his outstanding commitment to Manulife's growth
and development. He played a key role in our demutualization, our integration
with John Hancock and he has also been instrumental in all of Manulife's
capital markets activities." Mr. Rubenovitch has agreed to stay on for a
period of time to assist with the transition, close out the second quarter and
be a key resource on other strategic initiatives.
    Guloien stated, "I am very pleased to welcome Michael as Manulife's
incoming CFO. He is a seasoned international insurance executive with an
outstanding track record as a financial leader, risk manager, business and
team builder. His expertise, experience and energy will be a great asset to
Manulife as we continue to build the strong, reliable and forward-looking
Company our customers trust with their most important financial decisions."
    For the past six years Mr. Bell served as Executive Vice President and
CFO at CIGNA Corporation, a Fortune 200 company, where he was responsible for
all global financial operations including Finance, Accounting, Treasury, Tax,
Investor Relations and Capital Planning, as well as the Company's investment
functions, reinsurance and strategic planning. With his strong actuarial,
financial and line management background, he built a widely respected Finance
function at that Company. Prior to serving as CIGNA's CFO, he was President of
their Group Insurance business where he strengthened the business and
significantly expanded earnings.

    Capital Update

    Manulife's CFO transition is taking place during a period of solid
performance for the Company. Donald Guloien commented that, "If we were
reporting our quarter today, we would find our consolidated MCCSR levels
(Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirements of The Manufacturers Life
Insurance Company) to be near the highest levels in our history." Manulife has
enjoyed great benefit from strengthening equity markets but, at this time,
expects a significant portion of this could be offset by actuarial reserve
increases reflecting lower corporate bond rates, a more conservative
assessment of policyholder behaviour, lower investment returns and other
    He added that, "While we have seen encouraging improvements in the equity
markets since March 31, our earnings and capital levels will continue to be
impacted by equity market and interest rate volatility, and we will remain
focused on fortifying capital. Given the financial turmoil of the past year,
we also anticipate regulators, rating agencies and the investing public will
expect higher levels of capital going forward. For example, while US Risk
Based Capital (RBC) norms were historically considered strong at the 300%
level, the trend appears to be that significantly higher levels are becoming
the new normal for the strongest companies."
    One of Mr. Bell's first priorities will be to review and complete the
comprehensive capital plan Manulife has developed to ensure very strong levels
of capital in all of its operating businesses. Donald Guloien stated that,
"Building Manulife's capital strength, at both a consolidated and subsidiary
level, remains a continuing focus. At the same time, we want to avoid the
highly dilutive issuance of common equity. We will embark on a plan to
increase capital to fortress levels in order to be in a position to provide
the highest practical degree of security to policyholders, to withstand
continuing economic volatility and to be able to take advantage of strategic

    Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

    This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the "safe harbour" provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws and the
U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking
statements include but are not limited to, statements with respect to earnings
for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2009 and MCCSR levels, as well as
statements with respect to reserves. These forward-looking statements relate
to, among other things, our objectives, goals, strategies, intentions,
priorities, plans, beliefs, expectations and estimates, and can generally be
identified by the use of words such as "may", "want", "will", "could",
"should", "would", "likely", "suspect", "outlook", "expect", "intend",
"estimate", "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "forecast", "objective",
"continue", "embark" and "endeavour" (or the negative thereof) and words and
expressions of similar import, and include statements concerning possible or
assumed future results. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in
such forward looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks
and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements
and they should not be interpreted as confirming market or analysts'
expectations in any way. Certain material factors or assumptions are applied
in making forward-looking statements, and actual results may differ materially
from those expressed or implied in such statements. Important factors that
could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include but
are not limited to: general business and economic conditions (including but
not limited to performance of equity markets, interest rate fluctuations,
currency rates, investment losses and defaults, movements in credit spreads,
market liquidity and creditworthiness of guarantors and counterparties);
Company liquidity, including the availability of financing to satisfy existing
financial liabilities on their expected maturity dates when required; level of
competition and consolidation; changes in laws and regulations; accuracy of
information received from counterparties and the ability of counterparties to
meet their obligations; accuracy of estimates used in applying accounting
policies and actuarial methods used by the Company; the ability to maintain
the Company's reputation; the ability to implement effective hedging
strategies; legal and regulatory proceedings; the ability to adapt products
and services to the changing market; the ability to attract and retain key
executives; acquisitions and the ability to complete acquisitions including
the availability of equity and debt financing for this purpose; the ability to
execute strategic plans and changes to strategic plans; the disruption of or
changes to key elements of the Company's or public infrastructure systems; and
environmental concerns. Additional information about material factors that
could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations and about
material factors or assumptions applied in making forward-looking statements
may be found in the body of this document as well as under "Risk Factors" in
our most recent Annual Information Form, under "Risk Management" and "Critical
Accounting and Actuarial Policies" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis
in our most recent annual and interim reports, in the "Risk Management" note
to consolidated financial statements in our most recent annual and interim
reports and elsewhere in our filings with Canadian and U.S. securities
regulators. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements
except as required by law.

    About Manulife Financial

    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$405 billion
(US$322 billion) as at March 31, 2009.
    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

    Mr. Bell's biography and photo are available at:

For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: David Paterson, (w) (416)
852-8899, (cel) (416) 456-3621,; Laurie Lupton,
(w) (416) 852-7792, (cel) (647) 407-5107,; Investor
Relations: Amir Gorgi, 1-800-795-9767,

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890