Manulife: Regulators May Call for More Capital Holdings

Nov.24.09 | About: Manulife Financial (MFC)

By Tara Perkins

Not only has Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) CEO Don Guloien done his first takeover since his decision to raise $2.5 billion in equity, there’s also new evidence supporting his view that regulators might require the company to hold more capital in the future.

Late last week Bernard Dupont, the director of the capital division at Canada’s banking and insurance regulator the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, gave a speech to the Canadian Institute of Actuaries’ annual meeting.

The talk wasn’t meant to be public. But Scotia Capital analyst Tom MacKinnon caught it and said in a note to clients that OSFI suggested the capital requirements for segregated fund guarantees could increase next year as a result of a review the regulator is undertaking.

Segregated funds and variable annuities are behind most of Manulife’s woes. (For more, read: Cover story: Dominic's end game).

OSFI is declining to elaborate on its remarks. The regulator would only say that it is carrying out a comprehensive review of segregated fund guarantee requirements as part of a broader project, and that it’s in discussions with the life insurance industry.