WATERLOO, ON, April 10 2008 – Manulife Financial has announced an exclusive three-year agreement with behavioural finance expert Dr. Shlomo Benartzi. Dr. Benartzi, a professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and an internationally respected researcher to provide insights on retirement savings trends to Manulife’s Canadian group savings clients.
As a leading contributor with a select group of researchers, Dr. Benartzi observes emerging trends among international retirement savings plan participants. Research findings are reflected in quarterly custom newsletters – CAP Trends & Thoughts – for Manulife’s Canadian group savings clients. Clients are also invited to participate in a web-based discussion with Dr. Benartzi to review a current edition and discuss how observations relate to their retirement savings programs. Key market sources also receive copies of the newsletter. Dr. Benartzi serves as Co-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Group on Behavioral Decision Making at UCLA. He is a pioneer in studying participant behaviour in retirement savings plans, including development of Save More Tomorrow(TM) – a behavioural model designed to help participants increase their savings rates gradually over time. Canadian studies completed by Benefits Canada have shown Canadian plan participants mirror their U.S. counterparts in terms of savings behaviour. Despite the availability of resources to help members understand their plans and make decisions that will lead to good outcomes in retirement, inertia continues to plague the industry. Significant numbers of plan participants leave their savings in default funds and an equally substantial number make no effort to take advantage of features like company matches. These same behaviours have been observed – and explained – in initiatives by Dr. Benartzi and his colleagues.
U.S.-based plan sponsors are already applying the results of these studies to assist their plan members. Research outcomes to this point have highlighted the value of changing traditional plan designs and adjusting the method of delivering investment selections. With access to this innovative service, Manulife’s clients can benefit from the insights identified by the studies, and can apply that knowledge when designing or adapting retirement plans and communication initiatives.
“Extending this exclusive arrangement with Dr. Benartzi speaks to the focus we maintain on capturing emerging trends in the industry,” says Sharon Seifried, Assistant Vice President of Marketing with Group Savings and Retirement Solutions, “We’ve heard very positive comments from our customers about the value his insights bring to their discussions about plan design and their approaches to member communications. We’re really pleased to be working with such an accomplished source and Dr. Benartzi’s continuing work is already influencing our approach to product and service developments.”
Manulife is committed to introducing innovative services to its clients and to the wider retirement savings market and the confirmation of this exclusive arrangement is one of a series of developments set for introduction to the market in 2008.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$396 billion (US$401 billion) as at December 31, 2007.
Manulife Financial is one of two publicly traded life insurance companies in the world whose rated life insurance subsidiaries hold Standard & Poor’s Rating Services’ highest “AAA” rating.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.