Manulife launches first group retirement savings version in Canada of Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit product

WATERLOO, ON, June 5 2008 – Manulife Financial has announced its newest innovation for group retirement savings clients with the launch of Group IncomePlus.

After the 2006 release of Manulife’s IncomePlus GIF Select for individual Canadians, group retirement savings clients and their advisors voiced a need for a comparable guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit option. Developed specifically to meet the needs of these clients, Group IncomePlus is the first option available in Canada to guarantee group retirement savings plan members retirement income – for life.

“We’re delighted to bring Group IncomePlus to our clients and to the Canadian group retirement market,” says Sue Reibel, Senior Vice President of Group Savings and Retirement Solutions, “An investment option that provides guaranteed retirement income for plan members while maintaining the flexibility plan sponsors value with capital accumulation plans is ideal for our marketplace.”

An effective investment option available with any of Manulife’s group retirement savings plans, Group IncomePlus has no minimum initial or continuing contributions, making it accessible to all plan members.

“We’ve been monitoring the growing body of research around plan member needs and behaviour and it points clearly to a need for an option that addresses the biggest risks members face as they move into retirement: the risk of outliving retirement income and the risk associated with market volatility. Group IncomePlus gives members a chance to remain invested so they can capture market growth without fear that market declines will reduce their guaranteed retirement income,” explains Ms. Reibel.

Studies by behavioral finance teams – including researcher Dr. Shlomo Benartzi who maintains an exclusive Canadian relationship with Manulife – point to a growing need for some portion of guaranteed income as the foundation of a complete retirement income strategy. Group IncomePlus gives capital accumulation plan members an effective option for establishing this foundation.

Group IncomePlus is the first option that can be incorporated into the investment selection of any Manulife group retirement savings plan to provide members with guaranteed retirement income for life.

An extensive selection of educational resources supports members through every stage of their participation in Group IncomePlus. “Since this is new territory for them, we want members to be in a strong position to make this option work effectively,” says GSRS Marketing Vice-President Mike Collins, who leads the development team, “We’ve created a variety of videos, internet messages, and companion materials for members. Whether they’re preparing to make their first contribution, transferring savings into their accounts, or considering a withdrawal from Group IncomePlus, we want to be sure they are clear about how each action factors into their long-term planning.”

“Decades ago, the move toward capital accumulation plans reshaped the direction of the group retirement savings industry in Canada,” notes Ms. Reibel, “We believe the introduction of Group IncomePlus will generate the next exciting evolution in our industry. And we want Canadians to know they can continue to count on Manulife to deliver innovative solutions that meet their needs.”

Launch meetings for key market sources will be held in locations across Canada in mid-June and are set to coincide with the release of the Group IncomePlus web site.

For more information about Group IncomePlus, please contact Mike Collins, Vice-President, Marketing, Group Savings and Retirement Solutions at 519-747-7000, ext. 38010.

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$400 billion (US$389 billion) as at March 31, 2008.

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