Manulife announced on Feb. 7 a fourth quarter 2017 net loss of $1.6 billion. Net income for the year 2017 stood at $2.1 billion compared with $2.9 billion in 2016.
2017 net income included a $2.8 billion post-tax charge related to the previously announced impact of U.S. tax reform and the decision to change the portfolio asset mix supporting its legacy businesses, stated the company.
For the year, return on common shareholders' equity (ROE) was 5.0 per cent, compared with 7.3 per cent for 2016.
Strong operating results
"We achieved strong operating results in 2017. Core earnings increased 14 per cent to $4.6 billion, we delivered continued positive net flows, and solid top-line growth in Asia," said Manulife President & Chief Executive Officer Roy Gori. "And while net income was impacted by portfolio asset mix changes and U.S. Tax Reform, these items will benefit us going forward."
"On the basis of our strong operating results and outlook for growth going forward, the Board today approved a seven per cent increase to our dividend," said Phil Witherington, Chief Financial Officer.
Insurance sales up 60 per cent in Canada
The company also announced that insurance sales totaled $4.7 billion in 2017. In Asia, insurance sales increased 17 per cent compared with a year earlier while in Canada, insurance sales jumped 60 per cent compared with 2016, “as a more than doubling of group benefits sales (where large case sales are inherently variable), was partially offset by lower retail sales from the impact of regulatory changes on prior year sales and pricing actions taken during the year,” stated Manulife.