Manulife entering Japan variable annuity biz

The Canadian insurance giant seeks additional distribution channels.

Manulife Life Insurance is preparing to launch its first variable annuity products in Japan this January, says Keith Walter, managing corporate officer in charge of business development in Tokyo. It will be the insurer's first investment-based product in that market since it entered Japan in 1999.

According to John Shed, managing corporate officer for investment operations, Manulife will manage two portfolios itself, one for Japanese equities and one for Japanese bonds. It will outsource two portfolios international equities, debt to fund managers with brand names. He says tentative agreement has been reached with one fund manager but declined to reveal which one until the product's official launch next month.

Shed adds that the international investments...

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