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Manulife Financial Corp. beat expectations as its net profit surged in the second quarter to $2.6 billion on continued growth in Asia and strong contributions from wealth and asset management.

The Toronto-based insurer and financial services company reported after markets closed Wednesday that its net income attributable to shareholders amounted to $1.33 per diluted share, up from 35 cents per share or $727 million a year earlier.

It attributed the increase to gains on private equity investments and equity markets along with improved interest rates.

On an adjusted basis, core earnings increased 7.8% to $1.68 billion or 83 cents per share, compared with $1.56 billion or 78 cents per share in the second quarter of 2020.

Manulife was expected to report net profits of $1.75 billion or 90 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Global wealth and asset management net inflows reached $8.6 billion, up from $5.1 billion in the prior year quarter.

“Our results this quarter showcase the strength of our Asia and global wealth and asset management businesses which underpin the next phase of our strategy,” stated CEO Roy Gori.

“While economic recovery is underway, challenges remain and it is uneven across markets. Manulife is well-positioned to serve our customers’ needs throughout the recovery and I am optimistic about the tremendous opportunity ahead.”

New business increased 57% to $550 million with Asia contributing $399 million, Canada increasing 65% to $76 million and the U.S. up 110% to $75 million.

Annualized premium equivalent sales were up 30% to $1.4 billion, driven by growth in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia that offset lower sales in Japan.