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Rating:Three Things to Know About Manulife's Earnings Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Things to Know About Manulife's Earnings

Reported by Casey Quinlan

Manulife posted their second quarter earnings, reporting core profit that rose 3 percent year over year to $623 million. According to Reuters, Manulife missed earnings per share estimates by three cents. Manulife posted premiums and deposits of $17.8 billion, an increase of 54 percent year over year, which points to a good number of sales in its mutual fund business, John Hancock Funds [profile] , Zacks writes.

MFWire found three important points to note from Manulife's Seeking Alpha transcript of the earnings call.

POINT 1: Manulife has not made any shifts in its business following news of rising interest rates.

POINT 2: Manulife is not making acquisitions in India.

POINT 3: Soon, the more specific financials of the mutual fund side of the business will be disclosed.

POINT 1: Manulife has not made any shifts in its business following news of rising interest rates.
Ohad Lederer of Veritas Investment Research Corporation: So out of Manulife's total $104 billion of notional subject to Seg Fund guarantees, how much is in bond funds and related to fixed income? Has there been a -- clearly, in the retail asset management world there's been a big shift, big customer preference for fixed income over the last 24 months. Has there been a big shift within Manulife's? I know your book hasn't changed in size, but within the $100 billion or so portfolio, has there been a big shift?

Rahim Badrudin Hassanali Hirji, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice President for Manulife: In general, about 40% of our Seg Fund assets are in bond funds, and that hasn't really changed over the last 2 to 3 years. We track this fairly well and closely as part of our hedging book, and it doesn't really move by more than 0.5%.

Lederer: So this quarter, the commentary is that there's a timing mismatch and some or most or perhaps even all of the $100 million charge is going to come back in the third quarter as part of the annual review. Could there be instances where a backup in rates is -- where you can't get it back? Is there -- are there guarantees on, I guess, bond funds at what may prove to be peak prices?

Cindy Forbes, Chief Actuary, Executive Vice President for Manulife: Right. So the timing difference you're talking about is the difference between how frequently we update the interest assumption and our determination of policyholder reserves on these products. And we typically update that interest assumption on an annual basis. So there's just a timing difference. So we would expect to get back the $100 million.

Tom MacKinnon of BMO Capital Markets: I wanted to follow-on that. When you give a sensitivity of changes in earnings to a 100 basis point moves in interest rates, do you take into account the fact that Seg Funds are in bond funds? Is that reflected in that sensitivity?

Forbes: Tom, it's Cindy. We have not taken into account the sensitivity of the bond funds and it's because -- you're only seeing this sensitivity because of the timing difference between when we're updating our viability assumptions and when we're reflecting the change in the market value of the underlying funds. So we would always expect to come back to a neutral position and it's just timing. So we haven't reflected it in the sensitivity.
POINT 2: Manulife doesn't find acquisitions in India appealing.
John Aiken of Barclays Capital: Okay. And Donald, in terms of the regulatory capital ratio moving up reasonably strongly as well as the impact from the sale of the business, what is the outlook now for Manulife making acquisitions? And I know you don't talk about deals specifically, but can you talk to the attractiveness of the 2 major markets in Asia that you're really not in, namely, India and Korea?

Donald Guloien, CEO, President and Director of Manulife: You mentioned the 2 places where opportunities where merge, I guess, I'll talk a little bit about India. I guess our attitude towards India is that we want to be welcomed in any place we do business and that the restrictions around a 26% ownership position, unless there's a clear line of sight to something different, is a very significant detractor…In Korea, opportunities do emerge from time to time in Korea. We watch that market very closely. There's aspects about the market that concern us. There's aspects about the market that attract us. And if we were to do anything in any market, it has to meet the test of financial sobriety, that is it makes sense for the shareholders and is not driven by ego or flag planting. It has to be driven by real economic returns to shareholders.
POINT 3: Soon, the more specific financials of mutual fund side of the business will be disclosed.
Michael Goldberg of Desjardins Securities: Okay. And my second question, if you took your asset management businesses together, are they profitable on a stand-alone basis? And if not, what level of funds under management would you need to break even?

Guloien: Yes. They are profitable on a stand-alone basis. And it's not as profitable as if we've been in the business 100 years because we are growing at a very rapid rate. I mean, those of you who witnessed the rate of growth here, that becomes the results of the investments that we're making in a business. So it's not as profitable as if it had been around for a long time because we're creating this business almost from nothing. But it is profitable and we see the day when we would expose that to you as a separate line of business, and you could look at it in that way. And you might be able to calculate EBITDA, you might be able to put a multiple on it. You can do whatever you want with it. But we will, at the appropriate time, disclose that as a separate line the business.

See the transcript of Manulife's earnings call and the earnings release for more on how Manulife is doing.  

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