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2009 News Releases

For Immediate Release

December 28, 2009

Manulife Vietnam’s CEO receives Minister of Finance‘s “Outstanding Contribution Award”

Hanoi - Today, David Wong, CEO & General Director of Manulife Vietnam, was awarded an Outstanding Contribution Award from Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh in recognition of his outstanding management and contribution to the life insurance market development in Vietnam.

“I am proud to receive this award and would like to express my great thanks to my colleagues, staff and agency force, a dedicated team that strives to better serve our customers, providing caring and professional solutions to meet their financial goals and enhance their quality of life. I am very glad our hard work together has been recognized by the Ministry of Finance.” said David Wong at the award ceremony at My Dinh National Convention Center, Hanoi.

Mr. Wong led Manulife Vietnam for the past three years during which time it witnessed unprecedented growth, innovative product development and significant expansion of distribution capabilities.  Manulife Vietnam was one of the top three life insurers in Vietnam for 2007, 2008 and recently was rated the same for 2009. According to the Vietnam Insurance Association, in 2007, Manulife Vietnam enjoyed 60% growth, which doubled the overall industry growth, and in 2008, 30% growth, which tripled the industry growth rate in 2008.  Despite the global financial crisis and local market challenges, the company continued to have solid growth for the first nine months of 2009, with a growth rate of 24%.

With his 28 years of extensive experience in the insurance industry with Manulife Financial, Mr. Wong demonstrated strong leadership and shaped the Company’s business strategy in Vietnam to help it become the most professional life insurer in Vietnam, providing the world-class financial and wealth management products and services to meet the diversified needs of Vietnamese customers. 

Besides the core agency channel, Mr. Wong oversaw alternative distribution channels such as joint-ventures and partnerships with other financial institutions such as ACB and Techcombank and a general agency model in Bon Me Thuot City. These channels were developed to broaden product offerings to middle class customers.

Mr. Wong’s passion and contribution went beyond promoting insurance to urban middle class customers. Having witnessed many low-income Vietnamese people affected by accidents, typhoons and floods in the remote rural areas, he determined  to bring suitable insurance products to the rural areas for low income people with no options for financial protection. The rural areas in Vietnam traditionally were underserved by the insurance industry. However, Mr. Wong, with his dedication to promoting micro-insurance in Vietnam, worked diligently with his colleagues and the Insurance Commission to design appropriate models to promote the micro-insurance concept to the Vietnam insurance industry.  Together with the Manulife Vietnam micro insurance team, he developed micro-insurance options and selected a prestigious partner, the Vietnam Women’s Union, to pilot this project in Hai Phong and Tien Giang beginning in September 2009.  The initial response has been encouraging with close to 10,000 Women Union members signing up for the micro-insurance contract so far.

Mr. Wong has been active in the Vietnam Insurance Association and Vietnam Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and has worked closely with the Insurance Commission in promoting international insurance best practices in the Vietnam insurance industry.

This prestigious accolade by Minister of Finance was granted for the first time in Vietnam to recognize individuals and companies for their outstanding contribution to the development and enhancement of effective life insurance market operations in Vietnam for the past ten years from 1999 to 2009.

“I would like to offer my deepest thanks to the Government of Vietnam, especially the Ministry of Finance for its ongoing support and guidance since the time Manulife was established as the first 100% foreign invested life insurance Company in Vietnam ten years ago. I have been tremendously impressed with their dedication and, most of all, their obvious desire to do what is best for Vietnam and the Vietnamese people,” Mr. Wong added.

About Manulife Vietnam
Manulife Vietnam - the first 100 per cent foreign-owned life insurance company licensed in Vietnam - provides financial services to more than 300,000 customers through a network of over 5,500 professionally qualified agents. Manulife has been operating in Vietnam since June 1999. On June 14, 2005, Manulife Vietnam Fund Management (MVFM), a wholly owned local subsidiary of Manulife Vietnam, was granted license to operate a fund management and portfolio management services, further expanding Manulife Vietnam’s product offerings for its customers.

Manulife Vietnam remains committed to supporting the communities, in which it conducts business in both educational and charitable activities, donating a total of more than VND 8 billion since 1999.  Some of the organizations and programs to which the Company has donated time and money include: the Vietnam Association for Promoting and Supporting Educational Development, Terry Fox Foundation, Operation Smile, Health Check and Care programs, Saigon Children’s Charity, National Library for the Blind, the annual Manulife Care and Let’s help children go to school program.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 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$437 billion (US$407 billion) as at September 30, 2009.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

Media Contact:

In Vietnam:
Hang Luu     
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Manulife (Vietnam) Limited
Tel: (84-8) 5416 6888
Fax: (84-8) 5416 1818
Mobile phone: 0903 728618
E-mail: hang_luu@manulife.com

In Asia:
Juliana Gittler
Regional Communications Manager
Brand Development & Communications, Asia
Manulife Financial
Tel: (852) 2201 1501
Fax: (852) 9027 5283
Email: juliana_gittler@manulife.com