Strong Q2 Earnings at Manulife Financial

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Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC) reported second-quarter 2013 core earnings of $623 million (C$609 million) up 3.0% year over year. Earnings benefited from improvements in core earnings in Canada and lower hedging costs, partly offset by the expected decline in the U.S. division's core earnings.
 
Net income of approximately $265 million (C$259 million), compared with a net loss of $ 284 million (C$281 million) in the last year quarter.
 
During the quarter under review, Manulife’s total insurance sales were $950 million (C$929 million), down 3% year over year. Lower sales in Asia and Canada was attributed for the decline.
 
Wealth sales for the second quarter were $14.0 billion (C$13.7 billion), up 60% year over year. The increase was due two times increase in sales in Asia along with double-digit growth in all other territories and record Mutual Fund sales in each of Asia, Canada and the U.S. 
 
For wealth products, premiums and deposits of $17.8 billion (C$17.4 billion) increased 54% year over year, reflecting significant sales in the company’s Mutual Fund businesses.
 
Insurance premiums and deposits were $6.4 billion (C$6.3 billion), reflecting an increase of 2% year over year. 
 
The company strengthened its capital ratio to 222%, up 5% over the prior quarter. The improvement in Manulife’s capital ratio reflects the favorable impact of higher rates on required capital and a $200 million preferred share issuance in the quarter.
 
Manulife's Funds under management reached another all-time record of $597 billion (C$567 billion) as of Jun 30, 2013 up 9% year over year, driven by positive net policy holder flow.
 
Manulife expects to achieve $4 billion of core earnings in 2016.
 
Highlights during the quarter
 
In Malaysia, Manulife commenced a 10-year bancassurance agreement with Alliance Bank, giving it access to 1 million customers of the bank. In the United States, Manulife agreed to acquire Symetra Investment Services to strengthen the John Hancock Financial Network. 
 
Other life insurers Protective Life Corp. (PL), MetLife, Inc. (MET), Torchmark Corp. (TMK) all reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings.
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