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Manulife Closes Largest Canadian Universal Life Reinsurance Transaction with RGA

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Manulife successfully closes reinsurance transaction with RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada to enhance portfolio and unlock shareholder value.
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  • Manulife closes the largest Universal Life reinsurance transaction in the Canadian insurance industry.
  • The transaction aims to transform the portfolio to higher ROE and lower risk businesses.
  • Manulife's President and CEO, Roy Gori, highlights the deal as a significant milestone in the company's strategic journey.
  • The company plans to return unlocked capital to shareholders through an amended share buyback program.
  • The amended NCIB is pending approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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The completion of the reinsurance transaction between Manulife and RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada signifies a strategic shift for Manulife towards higher return on equity (ROE) and lower risk profiles within their portfolio. This move is indicative of a proactive approach to capital management and risk mitigation, which could bolster investor confidence. By offloading a block of Universal Life insurance, which typically involves a savings component along with a death benefit, Manulife can reallocate capital to more profitable ventures.

Share buybacks, such as the one Manulife has received approval for from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), are often viewed positively by the market as they can lead to earnings per share (EPS) accretion and demonstrate a company's confidence in its own financial health. However, the effectiveness of such buybacks depends on the price at which shares are repurchased and the alternative investment opportunities available to the company. The mention of 'unlocked capital' suggests that Manulife is optimizing its capital structure, potentially leading to improved financial ratios and shareholder returns in the short to medium term.

The announcement highlights Manulife's execution of a significant Universal Life reinsurance transaction, which is particularly noteworthy as it is labeled the largest in the Canadian insurance industry. This scale suggests a considerable impact on the competitive landscape, as it may set a precedent for similar transactions within the industry. For stakeholders, the transaction's attractiveness hinges on the terms negotiated, which are not disclosed but are implied to be favorable ('attractive terms').

Universal Life insurance is a complex product that combines life coverage with investment elements and its management can have significant implications for an insurer's balance sheet. Reinsuring such a product can free up reserves and reduce capital requirements, which can then be redirected towards more profitable or strategic initiatives. This reallocation can enhance the company’s agility in responding to market changes or in pursuing growth opportunities. The long-term implications could include a more streamlined product offering and improved risk management, aligning with industry trends towards simplification and focus on core competencies.

Manulife's strategic decision to reshape its portfolio reflects broader industry trends where insurance companies are increasingly scrutinizing their product mix to optimize for profitability and risk. The focus on ROE is particularly significant as it is a key metric for investors assessing the profitability of a company relative to its equity. An increase in ROE can signal improved efficiency and profitability, which may influence the stock performance positively.

Additionally, the shareholder value proposition is underscored by the mention of the share buyback program. The program, contingent on the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), is a direct mechanism to return value to shareholders. It's important to monitor the execution of this program as it reflects the company’s commitment to capital return strategies. The market's response to such programs can vary, but typically, a well-executed buyback can be supportive of the stock price in the short-term. Long-term benefits, however, depend on the sustained operational performance and strategic direction of the company.

TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC SEHK: 945                                                                                  C$ unless otherwise stated

TORONTO, April 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ - Manulife announced today that it has successfully closed1 the previously announced transaction to reinsure a low ROE Canadian Universal Life block with RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada.

"Closing this deal represents another milestone in our journey to transform our portfolio to higher ROE and lower risk businesses," said Manulife President and Chief Executive Officer Roy Gori. "This transaction, the largest Universal Life reinsurance transaction in the Canadian insurance industry, confirms our continued momentum in executing on our strategy of reshaping our portfolio at attractive terms and our commitment to unlocking shareholder value."

As previously announced, Manulife has received OSFI approval to amend our current share buyback program, which commenced on February 23, 2024, to return unlocked capital from the transaction to its shareholders. The amended NCIB remains subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX").

For more information on the transaction, please see the news release and slides from our March 25th, 2024, announcement.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider, helping people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our Global Wealth and Asset Management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2023, we had more than 38,000 employees, over 98,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 35 million customers. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges, and under '945' in Hong Kong.  
 
Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulife.com

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS:

From time to time, Manulife makes written and/or oral forward-looking statements, including in this document. In addition, our representatives may make forward-looking statements orally to analysts, investors, the media and others. All such statements are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws and the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

The forward-looking statements in this document include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to possible share buybacks under a normal course issuer bid. 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 the fact that the amount and timing of any future common share repurchases will depend on the earnings, cash requirements and financial condition of Manulife, market conditions, capital requirements (including under LICAT capital standards), common share issuance requirements, applicable law and regulations (including Canadian and U.S. securities laws and Canadian insurance company regulations), and other factors deemed relevant by Manulife, and may be subject to regulatory approval or conditions.

Additional information about material risk 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 our 2023 Management's Discussion and Analysis under "Risk Management and Risk Factors" and "Critical Actuarial and Accounting Policies", and in the "Risk Management" note to the Consolidated Financial Statements in our most recent annual and interim reports and elsewhere in our filings with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators.

The forward-looking statements in this presentation are, unless otherwise indicated, stated as of the date hereof and are presented for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding our financial position and results of operations, our future operations, as well as our objectives and strategic priorities, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Note: 1 The effective date of the transaction is April 1, 2024.

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SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

FAQ

What is the significance of Manulife's reinsurance transaction with RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada?

The transaction aims to enhance Manulife's portfolio by transforming it into higher ROE and lower risk businesses, marking a significant milestone in the company's strategic journey.

What approval did Manulife receive related to the share buyback program?

Manulife received OSFI approval to amend its current share buyback program to return unlocked capital from the transaction to its shareholders.

When did Manulife's share buyback program commence?

Manulife's share buyback program commenced on February 23, 2024.

What is the status of the amended NCIB?

The amended NCIB is subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

When was the transaction with RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada announced?

The transaction was announced on March 25th, 2024.

Manulife Financial Corporation

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Manulife Financial Corporation is a Canadian multinational insurance company and financial services provider headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company operates in Canada and Asia as "Manulife" and in the United States primarily through its John Hancock Financial division.