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Letter to shareholders from Roy Gori
President and Chief Executive Officer

Roy Gori
President & Chief Executive Officer

Read more about Roy


Dear fellow shareholders,

Reflecting on the past year, I am tremendously proud of our team and of how we continued to deliver for our customers, our communities, and each other.

In my last letter to you, I expressed my optimism for the year ahead and my confidence in our ability to achieve the goals we’d set for ourselves because of our colleagues’ resilience, energy, and capabilities. 

While the pandemic has persisted, bringing sustained challenges and heartbreak around the world, I’m immensely grateful for the incredible dedication of caregivers and others, and deeply appreciative of the sacrifices they have continued to make. I’d also like to extend that same depth of gratitude to our global colleagues, many of whom have worked under very trying circumstances. 

The experience of the past two years has underscored the critical role that our products and services play for our customers around the world, and we can be proud of the way we have supported them and their families through the most challenging of times. In 2021, we welcomed approximately 1.6 million new customers, for a total of more than 33 million customers, and supported them with over $31 billion in claims paid. 

Our success over time depends on our ability to continue delivering for each of our key stakeholders: our customers, the communities where we live and work, the planet we all share, our colleagues, and you, our shareholders. I’m pleased to share some highlights of our progress with you. 


Roy Gori
President & Chief Executive Officer

Read more about Roy

Commitment to our customers

Our ambition is to be the most digital, customer-centric global company in our industry, and in 2018, we set an ambitious goal to improve our Net Promoter Score by 30 points. Since then, we’ve invested more than $850 million to enhance our digital capabilities and have increased our Relationship Net Promoter Score by 20 points to 21, as of the end of 2021, as we continue to meet, and exceed, our customers’ expectations. 

Throughout the pandemic, our customers, agents, and partners have accelerated digital adoption and our investments in technology have enabled us to provide a seamless experience and drive higher customer satisfaction. We now process more than 90% of claims digitally and have achieved 82% straight-through-processing, a measure of customer interactions that are completely digital.

In response to our customers’ desire to continue improving their well-being, we’ve evolved and expanded our behavioural insurance offerings to support them in achieving their goals. From offering Vitality Points™ to North American customers who have received their COVID-19 vaccination, to expanding our partnership offerings, Manulife Vitality and John Hancock Vitality continue to have a positive impact on our customers’ lives, while also driving higher rates of interaction, in turn leading to improved health outcomes. We’ve done the same in Asia through several enhancements to our ManulifeMOVE experience, including an updated app, access to exclusive programs, and 24/7 self-service functionality. We continue to invest in the creation and innovation of faster, simpler, and more relevant experiences to help our behavioural insurance customers live healthier, better lives. 

We’re also supporting our customers and clients with their investment needs and we’re proud of Global Wealth and Asset Management’s track record of positive net flows and strong investment performance.


Investing for positive impact 

Driven by our mission, we understand that we can and should create value for—and be valued by—all of our stakeholders in order to be successful now and in the future. We’re particularly focused on the environment, health and well-being, and supporting the communities where we live and work. 

In 2021, we were proud to share the first phase of our Climate Action Plan, a robust and long-term commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, supporting the transition to a net zero future, and investing in climate change mitigation and resilience. Our substantial natural resource holdings have enabled us to realize net zero operations, meaning we remove more carbon from the atmosphere than our business operations emit. But we know we need to do more and we have additionally committed to reducing our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 35% by 2035. We have also committed to achieving net zero financed emissions by 2050. We have further embedded these commitments by adding goals linked to our Climate Action Plan into our executive performance and compensation, and by committing to the Science Based Targets initiative.

We’re also bringing these commitments to life through our business, including through our acquisition of 89,800 acres of forested land as an impact-first investment, as well as the expansion of our sustainable investing products with the launch of investment strategies in Sustainable Asia Bond, Global Climate, and ESG Asian Multi-Asset Income. 

We continue to invest in the communities where we live and work to empower sustained health and well-being, drive inclusive economic opportunity, and create a sustainable future. Alongside our partners, we delivered on high-impact initiatives, including our second “MOVE for GOOD” challenge that motivated our customers collectively to walk 100 million steps to unlock a donation that encouraged underserved children in Hong Kong to be more active.

The year also marked our 14th annual MLK Scholars program, an award-winning cross sector collaboration we lead in the U.S. Since its inception in 2008, we’ve invested over US $15 million to provide jobs and professional development opportunities to over 6,000 youth.

We remain committed to helping communities respond to COVID-19 with a contribution to Project HOPE, and to natural disaster relief efforts in the U.S., Canada, and Asia—including Typhoon Rai in the Philippines—with donations to the Red Cross. In Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, we were honoured to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for our colleagues and their immediate families, as well as our agents and financial advisors in collaboration with local governments and other third parties. 

We were pleased to be named one of Canada’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens by Corporate Knights and to have improved our ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America to the 81st percentile. 

As well, Manulife Investment Management was accepted as a signatory to the UK Stewardship Code, which is recognized globally as a best practice benchmark in investment stewardship. 


Developing our winning team

We know that our people are our most important asset and that our culture is one of the only truly sustainable long-term competitive advantages. We’re committed to investing in both. Here, our ambition has always been to achieve top quartile engagement results, and despite a tremendously challenging year, our 2021 engagement scores again increased year over year, ranking Manulife in the top 15% of Gallup’s financial and insurance company benchmark. 

We’ve achieved this through our focus on driving inclusion, promoting well-being, and enhancing our culture of care. In 2021, we enhanced our learning and development offerings through our new AI-powered learning platform, bringing together a host of online and anytime learning resources. These resources allow our team to develop their capabilities and learn new skills that will be essential to accelerate our future growth. We’re also supporting our leaders to become even better at building high-performing teams through tailored learning sessions and more robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training, that will help us continue deepening our focus on driving an inclusive environment. 

We are mindful of the importance of well-being, and we continue to make this a priority through a broad range of initiatives. We gave everyone five additional personal paid days off in 2021 and will do so again in 2022, and we launched a program called Fuel Up Friday, which provides our team with the opportunity to dedicate time on the second Friday of each month to advance their personal development by taking advantage of our learning programs. We’ve also welcomed speakers to share inspiration and provide our team with a range of well-being resources on mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, and more. 

We continue to make progress on our ambition to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through expanded hiring commitments, education, and community support for organizations helping Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. In June, we brought our global colleagues together for our first Afternoon of Reflection and Learning, to allow all team members to explore the many dimensions of diversity through speaker sessions, guided discussions, and more. 

We’re honoured to be named as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for 2021 by Waterstone Human Capital, and as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2022 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. We were also pleased to be recognized as one of Forbes World’s Best Employers for 2021, and to be named to Bloomberg’s 2022 Gender-Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year. Our U.S. business, John Hancock, received a top score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index for the eighth year in a row, again earning the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” And we were proud to be acknowledged by the Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong for efforts made on Gender Equality, Family Status Equality and Racial Equality & Inclusion.


Accelerating growth in 2022

We have an unparalleled platform for growth that is global in nature and poised to capitalize on key global megatrends shaping the future, including the growth and emergence of the middle class in Asia, an aging global population, and the digitization of the consumer. More than one billion people in Asia are expected to join the middle class by 2030, and by 2032, they are expected to account for more than 50% of consumer spending. By 2030, one in six people globally will be 60 and over, and 60% of those over the age of 65 are expected to be in Asia. Manulife is uniquely positioned to succeed with our strong leadership position in 13 of the fastest growing, most profitable markets in Asia. 

Looking at our growth engines, Global Wealth and Asset Management drove performance, delivering net inflows of $27.9 billion in 2021. We improved our global money manager ranking from 32nd to 27th, as measured by Pensions & Investments, and demand for our products continues to increase with the widening of the retirement gap and the expansion of household wealth in the U.S. and Asia. 

In Asia, our core earnings grew to $2.2 billion and net income attributed to shareholders grew to $1.8 billion, despite the headwinds we faced in some markets. Our new business value of $1.7 billion represented a 27% increase over the prior year, on a constant exchange rate basis. Crucially, we gained market share in five geographies across Asia during the year and we continued to scale our business to grow across the diverse markets we serve in Asia. We completed our acquisition of Aviva Vietnam and began a 16-year exclusive bancassurance partnership with VietinBank, allowing us the opportunity to provide an additional 14 million customers with a full suite of insurance, wealth, and retirement solutions in Vietnam. 

We also continued to make significant progress on our portfolio optimization commitments, as evidenced by the announcement of our legacy U.S. variable annuity reinsurance transaction with Venerable Holdings Inc., which closed in February 2022. This transaction will unlock value and meaningfully reduce our go-forward risk profile, while contributing to our goal of shifting the earnings mix of our franchise to focus on our highest potential businesses.

Our ability to adapt and serve our customers across the globe who are navigating a very uncertain environment continues to drive our operating results and we are well-positioned to continue helping them live better, happier, and healthier lives. 


Thank you

In closing, I would like to acknowledge my Manulife colleagues around the world for what we have achieved together and how we’ve done it. I remain in awe of your dedication, resilience, and care, without which we couldn’t have delivered our 2021 results. Thank you.

On behalf of the entire team, I’d like to thank our Chairman, John Cassaday, and our Board of Directors, for their support and good counsel throughout the year. 

I’d also like to thank you, my fellow shareholders and customers, for the trust you’ve placed in our team. We have been steadfast in pursuit of our five strategic priorities, and we are confident that our continued strong execution against those priorities will ultimately result in substantial rewards for you.

As we look to the year ahead, our mission — Decisions made easier. Lives made better. — will continue to guide us in building our winning company and culture.



Roy Gori
President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife

Download Manulife Financial Corporation’s 2021 Annual Report