BOSTON, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Bank and Thrift Opportunity Fund (NYSE: BTO) (the "Fund"), announced today that the Board of Trustees has approved a change to the Fund's 80% investment policy. The new policy, as described below, is designed to provide for greater flexibility to invest in securities from within the broader financial services sector. In addition, the Board voted to change the Fund's name to John Hancock Financial Opportunities Fund to reflect the new 80% investment policy. These changes are expected to become effective on or about December 14, 2012. The Fund's ticker symbol, BTO, will not be changed.
The current 80% investment policy provides that the Fund will invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in equity securities of U.S. regional banks and thrifts and holding companies that primarily own or receive a substantial portion of their income from regional banks or thrifts. The new 80% investment policy is stated below:
Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in equity securities of U.S. and foreign financial services companies of any size. These companies may include, but are not limited to, banks, thrifts, finance companies, brokerage and advisory firms, real estate-related firms, insurance companies and financial holding companies. "Net assets" is defined as net assets plus borrowings for investment purposes.
In connection with the foregoing changes, the Board approved two additional investment policy changes. Currently, the Fund can invest up to 20% of its net assets in the common and preferred equity securities and other preferred securities of financial services companies, companies with significant lending operations, "money center" banks, and foreign banking, and debt securities of U.S. banks and thrifts and their holding companies. Under the revised policies, the Fund will be permitted to invest up to 20% of its net assets in the aggregate: (i) in the common and preferred equity securities and other preferred securities of non-financial services companies and (ii) in U.S. and foreign debt securities that include, but are not limited to, bonds, notes, bills and debentures.