Manulife earns second consecutive ‘Excellent’ rating from DALBAR for group savings plan member statements

KITCHENER, ON, Dec. 1 2008 – Manulife Financial Group Savings and Retirement Solutions (GSRS) has once again received an “Excellent” rating for its year-end plan member statement, according to a recently-released study by DALBAR, a leading communications consulting firm.

Manulife’s statement received 84.64 out of 100 points, considerably higher than the industry average of 70.82 points. The clear display of the member’s estimated retirement income was one of the leading features DALBAR identified in its review. Calculated using the member’s real-time data, the estimate also shows the member’s progress toward his or her specified retirement goal. According to organizations such as the Association of Canadian Pension Management – and leading behavioural finance expert Dr. Shlomo Benartzi – showing members a continuing estimate of retirement income is key to building understanding and engagement.

According to DALBAR, Manulife’s statement is the only one in the industry that displays the plan member’s asset allocation both in dollar amounts and percentage terms. DALBAR also identified the statement’s comprehensive rate of return summary and targeted alerts as features that contributed to its overall strength.

“We’re very pleased to receive another Excellent rating from DALBAR. In 2005, Manulife was the only company to receive this distinction and we’re really pleased to see the industry moving in this direction with us,” said Sue Reibel, Senior Vice-President, GSRS. “Clear communication that engages members is central to our service vision. That belief has guided the development of our plan member statement, and we’re pleased to play a leading role in shaping this direction.”

Manulife’s updated member statement was released in tandem with enhancements to the Steps Retirement Program(R) (Steps). An enhanced user-friendly presentation using leading-edge technology offers a more detailed display of retirement income sources for plan members.

“This second generation of Steps shows members their sources of retirement income and indicates when income payments will start,” explained Mike Collins, Vice President of Marketing, GSRS. “Although there’s more detail, the clearly displayed summary tested extremely well with plan members who said it was easy to understand and very useful.”

Steps video content now includes a host who welcomes members and outlines the simple goal-setting process. A series of video lifestyle illustrations bring the goal-setting concept to sharper focus, connecting activities with the annual income required to support them.

“Offering plan members resources that lend greater perspective to their retirement income continues to be a focal point for GSRS,” said Ms. Reibel. “An excellent statement design and more powerful version of Steps work together to give our plan members a clear, comprehensive sense of where they’ll be at retirement. While the benefits to the members are certain, plan sponsors benefit as well with a population of engaged participants who see the value their group retirement savings plan delivers, and who won’t be surprised with their outcome at retirement.”

For more information – or a demonstration of the new Steps – please contact Nancy Campbell, Director of Marketing, GSRS at [email protected].

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$385.3 billion (US$363.5 billion) as at September 30, 2008.

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