Manulife expects uptick in demand for investment solutions

Ng: Manulife Asset Management believes Asian assets could offer opportunities.

Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd has announced a new branding and entity name of its business last month. The Manulife Asset Management brand has been changed to Manulife Investment Management.

The move is part of the company’s global initiative to create a modern, simplified brand name and bring a more consistent voice in its engagements with clients across the globe.

The important milestone also signifies its transformation into a digital, customer-centric firm as it looks to enhance its engagements with the diverse groups of investors in Malaysia and other Asian markets.

Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manulife Holdings Bhd, which is majority owned by Canada-based Manulife Financial Corp. Manulife offers a comprehensive range of 53 unit trust and PRS funds in the asset classes of equity, fixed income and money market. It currently has asset under management valued at about RM11bil.

Since 2010, Manulife IM (M) has bagged 46 awards with the four most significant house awards being won in 2017 and 2018,

Its parent company Manulife Investment Management is headquartered in Toronto. It has US$837bil in assets under management as of March 31,2019.

Manulife Malaysia recently expanded and relocated its Sibu office in Sarawak.

Head of retail wealth distribution Ng Chze How talks to StarBizWeek about the company’s plan.

What are the reasons for Manulife relocating and expanding its office to Sibu?Manulife Asset Management has had presence in Sibu since Sept 29,2014, and now we are growing in the region together with an uptick in demand for investment solutions from investors based here.

Sibu is rich in culture and has a diverse population in different stages of life such as young parents, middle-aged workers and retirees.

This means there is strong demand for investment solutions that can help them achieve various financial goals, whether it is saving for their children’s education, wealth accumulation or retirement.

Many of the residents, particularly retirees, are high net worth individuals who have saved up a lot of cash for life after work, but would still like to receive a steady stream of income in case of sudden, unexpected expenditures.

The upgrade of our Sibu branch office and expansion of our unit trust consultants team here enable us to better serve our clients and dedicate the most appropriate resources to help address their investment needs.

We have mindfully put together a unit trust consultants team who understands the multifaceted culture of Sibu and are well-equipped to assist investors of different ethnicity with their investments.

What are the offerings from Manulife Asset Management beyond financial products?

Manulife Asset Management prides itself as a guardian of investors’ wealth – we are responsible for the long-term and retirement savings of our clients.

The financial products we offer are part of the solutions to helping our clients achieve their long-term financial goals. Our advisers and representatives understand the profiles and needs of our clients, and can provide the relevant counsel at different stages of their investment journey.

What are your market focus in Sibu?We focus on bringing the most appropriate investment solutions to help investors achieve their medium and long-term financial goals.

Manulife Asset Management provides a range of investment solutions that could meet the different financial goals of investors. Throughout Malaysia, we offer more than 50 unit trust and Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) funds that cater to the medium and long-term investment needs of clients, and invests into various assets – equities, fixed income, and alternatives – that suit their different risk profiles.

Where is your Sibu office located?

It is located in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg.

What is Manulife Asset Management’s outlook for the rest of this year?While uncertainty is set to continue to shape the rest of 2019, and developments across different themes will intertwine and influence each other. Amid the fog, however, Manulife Asset Management believes Asian assets could offer opportunities given their resilience to market volatility in the first half of 2019.

Asian equities have held up strongly despite the negative impact of escalating Sino-US trade tensions, and the Federal Reserve’s increasingly dovish stance has allowed Asian bonds to remain in a good position.

In Malaysia, the economic outlook is looking to be better as the strengthening relationship with China is expected to pave way for rising investment flows from China to Malaysia. The revival of major infrastructure projects is expected to pump-ride the economy for the rest of the year.

Asean is an investment bright spot as well, as we believe the trade bloc’s “4Gs” - Growing Significance, Growing Economy, Growing Investment, and Growing Population – can generate numerous opportunities.

That said, we think the best course of action for investors is to maintain diversification in their investments.

By adding income-oriented funds such as multi-asset income solutions and fixed income strategies to their portfolio, they can enjoy regular dividend or yield payouts whilst still focusing on their long-term investment goal of capital growth.

How many branches does Manulife Asset Management have in Sarawak? Where are they located?Manulife Asset Management has four branches in Sarawak located in Bintulu, Kuching, Miri and Sibu.

We are constantly looking to expand and grow our network in Sabah and Sarawak, to provide quality service to our clients in the region.

What are the financial offerings in Sarawak?Our range of financial products is available to investors across Malaysia.

The feedback we have been hearing from our clients in Sarawak is that they prefer investments solutions that can help address their needs for steady income and meet their long-term financial goals.

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