.(1) The company exceeded US$35 million (PhP 1.5 billion) in insurance sales(2) and US$154 million (PhP 6.5 billion) in wealth sales(3), representing growth of four per cent and 176 per cent over the prior year, respectively. Compared to the prior year, total premiums and deposits grew by 69 per cent; and total funds under management grew by 27 per cent to reach over US$1.5 billion (PhP 62.5 billion) as of December 31, 2012, for the first time ever.

"For the third consecutive year, Manulife Philippines achieved record insurance and wealth sales in 2012, reflecting Manulife’s ability to capitalize on the improving Filipino economy," said Indren Naidoo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Philippines. "These encouraging results make us strive even harder to provide our customers with strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking financial solutions and services for their future."

For the fourth quarter 2012, wealth sales increased by 191 per cent over the same quarter in 2011, driven by the strong performance of Manulife Philippines’ investment-linked funds and the market’s overwhelming reception to the new U.S. Dollar-denominated ASEAN Growth Fund (AGF). Total premiums and deposits increased by 92 per cent over the same quarter in 2011.

"The introduction of new products that address our clients’ specific life protection, investment and savings needs; aggressive recruitment of insurance advisers and agency leaders; and our increased footprint in provincial areas were factors in increasing the productivity of our agency, bancassurance and alternative distribution channels" Mr. Naidoo added.

By year end 2012, the company’s agency force saw a 22 per cent increase over year end 2011. Branch offices also opened in six new areas: Angeles City, Pampanga; Banawe Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila; Balanga City, Bataan; Batangas City; Tacloban City, Leyte; and Zamboanga City. To date, Manulife Philippines has 28 branch offices nationwide.

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Substantial wealth sales in 2012 were fueled by the Philippines’ strong economy, increased consumer and business confidence and bright economic prospects that fuelled demand for its investment-linked products.

"Last year, Manulife Philippines refreshed the Affluence line(4) of investment-linked or variable life products with various options for policyholders to enjoy flexible protection coverage and take full advantage of the most favorable market conditions to assure optimal returns," said Mr. Naidoo. "Yields of most of our funds attached to our investment-linked products were in the top quartile compared with other instruments in the market."