Strong wealth sales propel Manulife

Core Q4 earnings of $685M compares to $554M a year ago. Core ROE for the year was 10.4% vs. 10.6% in 2012.

Insurance sales of $617M fell 32% from a year ago, thanks to particularly strong sales in Japan in the 2012 Q4 ahead of product changes, and "normal variability" of sales in Canadian Group Benefits. CEO Don Guloien: "Insurance sales were slightly lower than what we would have liked, but with better margins."

Wealth sales of $12.2B grew 15% from a year ago, with strong mutual fund sales propelling particularly strong growth in the U.S. and Canada. Asian sales fell 18% after a big Q4 in 2012 amid a fund launch in Japan.

Investment-related gains of $265M in Q, of which $50M made it to core earnings.

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