In the third quarter of 2015, Manulife reported net income attributed to shareholders of $622 million, compared to the $1.1 billion in the same period in 2014. This decrease of 56.5% in net income was primarily due to losses on the fair value of oil and gas investments, compared to strong technical results realized on investments in the third quarter of 2014.
On the other hand, Manulife reported earnings from core operations of $870 million for the third quarter of 2015, an increase of $115 million (15%) compared to the third quarter of 2014.
Excluding the negative results in investments, earnings from core activities increased by 31% compared to the same quarter of 2014, an increase that reflects the $47 million related to the insurer's recent acquisitions, strong sales and a favourable product mix, particularly in Asia, as well as the stronger US dollar against the Canadian dollar. These factors were partially offset by unfavorable underwriting results in North America.
"We continue to execute on our long-term growth strategy," comments Manulife's chief financial officer Steve Roder. "In the third quarter, we announced an agreement to acquire Standard Chartered's Hong Kong pension businesses and to become their exclusive Mandatory Provident Fund distribution partner. We also delivered strong insurance sales in Asia, which fueled growth in embedded value and margin expansion."
In Canada, Manulife's wealth and asset management activities made a solid gross contribution, which almost doubled compared to that reported in the same period last year, and this was done despite increased volatility in the stock market. The company recorded particularly strong sales of individual insurance products thanks to both recent product launches and improvements to existing products.