Manulife Investments enhances Canada’s first Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit product

Provides more flexibility for younger and retired investors

TORONTO, Sept. 22 2008 – Manulife will offer an unlimited income bonus period to investors in its industry-leading IncomePlus product, plus other changes announced today, to provide more flexibility for younger and older Canadians saving for their retirement.

On October 20th, 2008, investors will now receive a five per cent bonus on their guaranteed income for each year that they don’t make a withdrawal from IncomePlus, Canada’s first Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) product. Previously, income bonuses were available in each of the first 15 years when there were no withdrawals.

“IncomePlus is not only the first product of its type in Canada, but now is the first to offer annual income bonuses for the life of the contract,” said J. Roy Firth, Executive Vice President, Manulife Financial. “For younger investors, this means they can invest at any age and are entitled to receive a five-per-cent income bonus for each year they don’t make a withdrawal. For older investors, even if they are retired, they also are eligible to receive an income bonus for any year they do not make a withdrawal.”

In less than two years since its launch, deposits have surpassed $6 billion in GIF Select featuring IncomePlus as many Canadians move to save, protect and grow their retirement savings.

“An unlimited income bonus period will allow IncomePlus investors to better plan for retirement knowing that their guaranteed income for life can increase each year, regardless of market conditions,” Mr. Firth added.

Clear need in Canada

“Many Canadians see a clear need for this type of product in their financial plans,” he said. “Investors young and old want protection when markets are volatile and growth when markets are good. This product gives them that and more.”

Launched in October 2006 by Manulife Investments, IncomePlus appeals to Canadians preparing to enter the “Retirement Risk Zone” – the five-to-ten years before and after they reach retirement – when their portfolios are most vulnerable to market downturns and volatility. IncomePlus provides guaranteed monthly payments independent of when an investor retires in the market cycle, as well as growth potential, flexibility and control.

Other new features:

Along with an unlimited income bonus period announced today, other changes for IncomePlus include:

  • Lower minimum investment: The minimum amount required to purchase IncomePlus is now $25,000, compared to the previous $50,000 minimum.
  • Lifetime Income eligibility at age 65: Investors now gain access to the lifetime withdrawal benefit at the beginning of the year they turn 65, rather than at the end of the year.

All the above enhancements to IncomePlus will not impact fees or management expense ratios. In addition, these enhancements will automatically be made available to existing contract-holders on December 31st, 2008.

“One of Manulife’s learnings from our 2004 purchase of John Hancock in the United States has been that Canadians need access to products popular in other countries,” added Mr. Firth. “Manulife operates in 19 countries, so we’re constantly looking for ways to help Canadians manage their finances. IncomePlus is one of those success stories, as well as Manulife One, our flexible home line of credit account launched in 1999.”

In October 2007, Manulife Investments enhanced IncomePlus to provide investors with guaranteed monthly income for life, to address a growing concern among older Canadians that they might outlive their savings. With IncomePlus, investors have downside protection for their retirement income; upside potential that can increase payments for life; flexibility and control over investments with access to the market value of their funds at anytime if needed.

IncomePlus includes a wide range of funds managed by some of the top fund managers in Canada. The Canadian Investment Awards also named IncomePlus as the “best new initiative” in 2007.

For more details, please visit Manulife Investments’ website at:

About Manulife Investments

Manulife Investments is the brand name describing certain Canadian subsidiaries and operating divisions of Manulife Financial Corporation that offer personal wealth management products and services in Canada. As one of Canada’s leading integrated financial services providers, Manulife Investments offers a variety of products and services including segregated funds, mutual funds, annuities and guaranteed interest contracts.

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$393 billion) as at June 30, 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