Manulife Doubles Down on Asia, Digital for Next Phase of Growth

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Manulife Financial Corp. Chief Executive Officer Roy Gori is setting a higher bar for the financial firm’s Asia operations after growing the business substantially in the past four years.

The Toronto-based company, which is hosting an investor day on Tuesday, is seeking to increase its Asian insurance and wealth businesses to 50% of company earnings by 2025, up from 41% last year, Gori said in an interview. The business accounted for 35% of earnings in 2016.

Key to the growth will be expanding sales through insurance agencies, banks and on digital platforms, Gori said. Along those lines, the company also is setting a target of processing 88% of its transactions digitally by 2025, up from 81% in 2020, he said.

“Distribution will continue to be key for growth in Asia,” Gori said. “Digital is going to be another key driver.”

Manulife also is setting a goal of generating 75% of its earnings by 2025 from what it calls “high-potential businesses,” which include global wealth and asset management, group benefits in Canada, behavioral insurance, and the Asia operations. Previously, the target was two-thirds of profit by 2022.

Gori said Manulife’s North American businesses can benefit after the pandemic highlighted the need for insurance. The pandemic also has temporarily scrambled longstanding mortality, morbidity and claims trends, he said.

“General consensus is that we will see that start to normalize perhaps at the later part of this year, maybe early next year,” Gori said. “There’s certainly a lot of signs to be optimistic about what the vaccine rates increasing quite significantly.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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