(Bloomberg) — Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest life insurer, is seeking to double the money in its Asia asset management and wealth unit within five years by coaxing retail savers to move funds from bank accounts.
Michael Dommermuth, who was promoted last month to head the unit, said he’ll focus on forming distribution partnerships, creating mutual funds and hiring more agents to sell its products. The operation has about $80 billion under management and Dommermuth said it’s his “central mission” to tap the $20 trillion sitting in bank accounts across the region of 4.4 billion people.
“Bank deposits are a relic of a bygone era,” Dommermuth said by phone from Hong Kong Thursday. “But we also require partnership. Because of the vast amounts of deposits held in the region, banks are a primary and important source of partnership for the distribution of wealth products.”
The insurer this year announced a deal with Citigroup Inc. to distribute the Toronto-based company’s mutual funds in Indonesia, where Manulife has agreements with at least a dozen banks. Dommermuth said he plans to add more banking deals this year in markets such as Hong Kong and China.
Dommermuth was named last month to integrate the insurer’s wealth and asset management units in 10 Asian markets including Singapore and Thailand. He now oversees the 140 investment managers who allocate funds for retail clients, as well as the retail distribution of products such as mutual funds.