Canada’s Manulife Asset Management signs up to PRI, formalising ESG approach

Leading North American financial institution backs ESG

Manulife Asset Management, the Canadian funds giant which operates as John Hancock in the US, has become a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The firm has around C$393bn (€270bn) under management and is part of the wider Manulife insurance and financial services group that is listed in Toronto and New York and elsewhere. Its first president was Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada.

“We are proud to become a PRI signatory. In doing so, we are demonstrating our commitment to responsible investment by formalizing our approach to integrating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues into our investment analysis,” said Chief Investment Officer Warren Thomson.

“We believe ESG factors contribute to the risk of an investment and good management of ESG risks can lead to long-term sustainable returns,” added Kai Sotorp, President and CEO, Manulife Asset Management – who joined the firm in 2014 from UBS Global Asset Management.Manulife manages almost US$14 billion in timber and farmland assets for its clients. Manulife Asset Management, which has a boutique structure, said equity, fixed income, asset allocation, real estate, timberland, farmland, and renewable energy are covered under the ESG policy.

“We are demonstrating our commitment to responsible investment”

“Manulife Asset Management’s history of using ESG factors to improve their investment decision making processes ideally places them to become a PRI signatory,” said PRI Managing Director Fiona Reynolds.

“We are delighted to welcome Manulife Asset Management to the PRI as a forward thinker in responsible investment.”

Other new signatories include Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. and Mandarin Capital Partners, the China-focused private equity firm.