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Manulife Financial's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We have led our industry in repricing and redesigning products for the current interest rate environment which has us well positioned for sustainable growth. We're also pleased with the underlying growth of our businesses against our strategic priorities. In all 3 geographies, we generated sustainable growth of less risky, higher return new business. And as of December 31, 2011, we achieved a record $500 billion, that's $0.5 trillion in funds under management.

This growth was driven in large part by the investments that we've been making in distribution and in branding. We significantly expanded our equity market and interest rate hedging programs in the first half of the year and mitigated most of the equity market and interest rate risks as financial markets became increasingly volatile in the second half of 2011. In fact, our hedging programs offset nearly $3 billion of potential market impact.

We exceeded our 2014 interest rate reduction goal in 2011. Our sensitivity to a 100 basis point decline in interest rate, including the AFS bond offset is now $200 million. We're also ahead of our 2012 risk reduction goal for equity markets and now stand at 93% of our 2014 goal.

Throughout 2011, we maintained our strength. We bolstered our capital ratio for the divestiture of our life retrocession business, successful non-common equity capital issuances and a significant reinsurance transaction. The MCCSR of our operating company, the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, was 216% at the end of 2011, and as of the third quarter 2011 continue to lead our peers. This ratio does not reflect the benefits of our equity hedging program, which reduces the downside risk to our capital position, but is not directly reflected in the capital ratio formula.

In summary, we're pleased with the progress we made in 2011 against our strategic plans. We achieved our 3-year product repositioning. Our hedging programs are having a positive impact in volatile markets. And our businesses are delivering underlying growth of less risky, higher return new business. Also noteworthy are the almost equal contributions of Asia, Canada and the United States to our operating results, a highly balanced portfolio.

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