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2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2007

Manulife Singapore launches first–of–its–kind variable annuity with guaranteed withdrawal benefit

Provides baby boomers with a guaranteed, sustainable and potentially growing retirement income;
Citibank is the first bank to distribute this innovative product in Singapore

Singapore— Manulife (Singapore) Pte Limited today introduced Secure Retirement Plus (US$), the first variable annuity product in Singapore. Catering especially to the territory’s post-war ‘baby boomer’ generation, Manulife Secure Retirement Plus offers a guaranteed withdrawal benefit (GWB) that provides a regular stream of retirement income for at least 20 years or income for life from age 65, regardless of market performance. Unlike other annuity products, the GWB has growth potential through the Company’s Loyalty Bonus and Step-Up mechanism. Citibank is the first bank distribution partner for Secure Retirement Plus. The product is available at all Citibank branches, as well as through Manulife Financial Planners and Financial Advisor Firms.

“We recently conducted a research study that clearly illustrates just how much Singaporeans are significantly underestimating how long they will live for in retirement. Put simply, these results indicate that people are at high risk of running out of money altogether in their old age,” explained Darren Thomson, President and CEO of Manulife Singapore. “Secure Retirement Plus addresses this gap by providing our clients with the lifetime financial security of a retirement income that can never go down, never run out and has the potential to grow.”1

At a glance, Secure Retirement Plus (US$) provides the following benefits:

  • An annual guaranteed withdrawal amount equal to five per cent of the subscription for minimum of 20 years. The guaranteed retirement income is secure and will never go down even in a declining market.
  • 50 per cent guaranteed Loyalty Bonus that upsizes the Guaranteed Withdrawal Benefit to 150 per cent of the initial investment if withdrawals are deferred in the first 10 years (25 per cent bonus for the first five policy years and an extra five per cent bonus each year from policy year six to 10).
  • Automatic step-up opportunities to lock in investment gains to the Guaranteed Withdrawal Benefit on every 5th policy anniversary up to age 80. This could further enhance the stream of retirement income.
  • Income for life – Beginning at age 65, the investor can elect to make withdrawals that are guaranteed for the rest of life. The guarantees are provided by Manulife (Singapore) Pte Ltd., 100 per cent owned by Manulife Financial, which has an ‘AAA’ financial strength and claims paying rating from Standard and Poor’s, the highest level available.
  • Investors have the flexibility to access their account value at any time2 or make switches from one portfolio fund to another. Currently, there are three SRP Lifestyle Portfolios available. The aggressive portfolio has a significant exposure of 80 per cent to equities and 20 per cent in bonds.
  • The initial subscription will be 100 per cent invested into any of the chosen SRP Lifestyle Portfolio Funds.
  • Guaranteed death benefit – The beneficiary has a choice of receiving the account value or the remaining regular withdrawals.

Manulife introduced this type of product in the United States more than four years ago, launched it in Japan and Canada last year, and in Hong Kong in early 2007. The plan has experienced tremendous market success. “We are pleased to introduce this innovative retirement solution to Singaporeans through our multi-distribution channels,” said Mr. Thomson. “Citibank, one of our key distributing partners, is the first bank to market this plan. We are confident that this plan will help Citibank customers secure a fulfilling retirement.”

Distribution via Citibank makes product easily accessible for bank customers
Citibank Singapore’s Head of Bancassurance Mr. Nick Czolak said, “Citibank is delighted to be the first bank to offer Singapore’s first variable annuity product. Through our regular conversations with customers, we know that there are many Singaporeans who are concerned about maintaining a steady income for life during their golden years. It is also quite common for couples to be concerned about the surviving partner’s financial situation if one departs first. With this product, couples can now rest assured that their partners will be well taken care of in their 70s and 80s. The unique structure of this product also means that for the first time, customers can decide how aggressive, conservative or balanced they want their annuity portfolios to be. Additionally, those who are not natural investors of equities or who usually have a low risk appetite can be reasonably aggressive with the Secure Retirement Plus as the various features have a built-in peace of mind.”

The launch of Secure Retirement Plus at Citibank branches comes hot on the heels of the bank’s announcement in February of its aim to grow its bancassurance market share. “Our ability to provide targeted solutions to our customer segments and offer new, innovative and relevant insurance products is instrumental to our overall aim to double our bancassurance business,” shared Mr. Czolak. “We are excited to partner with Manulife to bring this first-in-market annuity product to Singaporeans. With the Secure Retirement Plus, we aim to deepen our relationships with existing customers and grow our new-to-bank customers.”

In a recent survey by SaffronHill Research, it was found that Singaporeans only plan their finances for another nine to 12 years after retiring. However, the life expectancy is at least another 17 years based on the 2006 government life expectancy statistics and in many cases much longer. “There is a significant possibility that a large number of Singaporeans may outlive their retirement savings. The guaranteed lifetime income that Secure Retirement Plus can provide closes that longevity risk gap in retirement finances. This plan is truly a retirement solution for baby boomers who are near or entering retirement,” Mr. Thomson added.

About Citi
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under Citi's trademark red arc include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$426 billion (US$370 billion) as at March 31, 2007.

The financial strength of Manulife Financial’s insurance subsidiaries, including Manulife (International) Limited, is rated “AAA” by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, the highest level available.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

1Subject to policy conditions starting at age 65.

2Subject to policy conditions and withdrawal charge for withdrawal in excess of Guaranteed Withdrawal Amount (theinitial GWA will be 5% of the initial GWB)

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For further information, please call:
Manulife (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Cindy Cheng
Director, Marketing
DID: (65) 6 833 8162
E-mail: cindy_cheng_ac@manulife.com

Caren Lee
Corporate Affairs
Global Consumer Banking
Citibank Singapore Ltd
DID: 6328 5572; HP: 9067 8275
Email: caren.lee@citi.com