By Staff | August 3, 2004 | Last updated on August 3, 2004
3 min read

(August 6, 2004) Manulife Financial has released its latest earnings report, posting a massive 71% increase in earnings thanks in large part to last year’s acquisition of John Hancock Financial Services.

Excluding the $166 million earned by Hancock in the two months since the deal was completed, Manulife earnings increased by $108 million, or 28%, from the same quarter in 2003. Net income totalled $660 million and the firm is boosting its quarterly dividend by five cents a share to 26 cents.

We are moving forward quickly with the integration of John Hancock and Maritime Life following the closing of our merger on April 28th and are on track to realize the benefits expected from this transaction,” said Dominic D’Alessandro, president and CEO of Manulife Financial. “Our priority continues to be to deliver strong organic growth across all of our businesses and I am very pleased that we achieved this while at the same time making excellent progress on the integration.”

Funds under management were $360.2 billion as at June 30, 2004, more than twice the level at the end of the prior quarter. The addition of John Hancock increased funds under management by $190 billion.

• • •

Housing market seen solid

(August 6, 2004) Despite signs of a slowdown, Canada’s housing market is unlikely to suffer a meltdown on the scale similar to the early 1990s, according to economists at Scotia Economics.

“Residential construction has remained resilient in Canada this spring,” says Brad Norwood, economist at Scotia Economics. “Even with a moderating trend expected to take hold later this year, the strong first half performance will push this year’s tally just above the 218,400 units recorded in 2003. Resale markets gained momentum in the spring, with a record flood of new listings helping cap resale price increases.”

With relatively strong employment and interest rates seen remaining low by historic standards, any easing in the market should be gentle. Nationwide, housing starts are still increasing in Quebec and British Columbia, while slowing in Toronto.

“Supply and demand remain in better balance this time around,” says Norwood. “This is true even in the condominium sector, where ample supply and less supportive trends in demand point to a somewhat sharper deceleration in activity.”

• • •

CIBC closing Euro bond fund

(August 6, 2004) CIBC has announced that it will terminate its CIBC Euro Short-Term Income Fund, effective on or about October 29, 2004. No further units will be sold in this fund as of today.

In the meantime, distributions will continue to be re-invested in additional units of the Fund, except where a unitholder has otherwise instructed.

• • •

Bond market hurts pensions

(August 3, 2004) While bonds are usually considered the safe haven of a balanced portfolio, the effect of rising interest rates drove the fixed income market lower in the second quarter, hurting many pension plans’ returns, according to RBC Global Services’ BENCHMARK.

“Speculation about looming interest rate hikes affected all markets this quarter, although bonds took the greatest hit,” explained Don McDougall, director, BENCHMARK, RBC Global Services. “The TSX was flat, but Canadian equity managers were able to outperform the market by 1.2%, thanks to favourable stock picking in materials, financials and industrials.”

Within the $250 billion BENCHMARK universe, balanced funds grew a scant 0.3% in the second quarter, bringing year-to-date totals to 4.2%. Fixed income portfolios lost 2.0% on the quarter.

Global equities posted the best results, boosted by a weakening Canadian dollar during the quarter. Currency translation gains accounted for more than half of the 2.9% return in Canadian dollar terms.

• • •

End of the line for software package

(August 3, 2004) Users of Intuit Greenpoint’s ProFile FP Financial Planning software may have to find a new package, as the company has ceased development of the product.

The company has chosen to drop the application, to allow it to focus on its professional tax products and “improve support to the majority of our clients: professional accountants, bookkeepers and tax preparers,” according to Intuit.

The company is offering to help users transition to Emerging Information Systems Inc.’s NaviPlan financial planning software, through an arrangement to provide a free license for NaviPlan Standard and/or NaviPlan Extended until December 31, 2004.

• • •

08/03/04 staff


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