Blockbuster deal for Manulife

By Staff | September 29, 2003 | Last updated on September 29, 2003
2 min read

(September 29, 2003) Manulife Financial has announced a friendly $15 billion takeover bid for Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services, which would make Manulife the second-largest life insurance company in North America.

The merged firm would be based in Toronto with Manulife’s Dominic D’Allesandro as CEO. John Hancock CEO David D’Allesandro, who is not related to Dominic, would be the chief operating officer.

“We see this as a unique strategic opportunity to combine two exceptionally strong companies into a single, integrated, global market leader whose scale and capital base will drive even greater growth and shareholder value,” said Manulife’s D’Alessandro.

The all-stock agreement, which still requires shareholder approval, would create a financial services giant with more than $330 billion in assets under management

Under the terms of the deal announced last night, John Hancock shareholders will receive 1.1853 common shares of Manulife for each John Hancock share they own.

Manulife brings to the merger a strong presence in key U.S. markets in which Hancock has no real presence, including the 401(k) market (American equivalent of Canada’s RRSP) and 529 college savings plans (American version of Canadian RESPs).

“We’ve already heard from agents anxious to get their hands on a product prior to the time that we actually merge,” says Hancock’s D’Alessandro. “These are not fee-for-service people, these are commission salespeople and there are hundreds of thousands of them. Commission salespeople love to chase and now they’re going to have plenty of product to chase with.”

When asked whether the company would remain based in Toronto, the American D’Allessandro said he did not foresee a move to the U.S.

“I can assure you that the holding company is domiciled in Canada and to my knowledge will always be domiciled in Canada,” he assured.

Manulife would also acquire Halifax-based Maritime Life Assurance, a subsidiary of John Hancock.

What do you think of this merger? How do you foresee it affecting Manulife reps and the industry in general? Share your thoughts and opinions on this topic related to your industry in the Talvest Town Hall on

Filed by Doug Watt,, and Steven Lamb,

(09/29/03) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.