The transaction is likely to conclude during the first half of 2015, after receiving regulatory approvals and satisfying other customary closing conditions.

Commenting on the deal, Manulife Financial president and CEO Donald Guloien said: "Manulife is a major player in the pensions business in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

"This transaction, similar to our recently announced acquisition of Standard Life’s Canadian operations, will significantly increase our retirement plans business overall."

Manulife believes that the transaction will expand John Hancock’s RPS assets under administration by approximately 60%, while increasing its expansion into the mid-case to large-case private sector retirement plan markets.

The integrated RPS businesses will have almost $135bn in assets under administration, 55,000 retirement plans and 2.5 million plan participants.

New York Life has also inked an agreement to acquire 60% of John Hancock’s closed block, which includes primarily of participating whole life insurance, through reinsurance.

The block of 1.3 million policies is in line with John Hancock’s demutualization in 2000, and includes around $11bn in liabilities.

New York Life will assume $7bn of those liabilities through a reinsurance arrangement, while the policies have a face amount of almost $25bn.

Manulife operates as John Hancock in the US and as Manulife in other parts of the world. It offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients.