Manulife aims to reinforce its direct distributor presence

By Hubert Roy | June 23 2015 08:55AM

To position itself for the challenges ahead, Manulife Financial has adopted a three-pronged strategy. One initiative involves growing direct channels and advice channels that can be accessed anytime anywhere.

The first theme is to develop more holistic and long-lasting customer relationships. “We are transforming the strategic direction of our Company from one that has traditionally been product centric and distribution centric to one that maintains those skills but is more customer-centristic offering needs based solutions. We'll change our organization to one that puts the customer at the center of everything we do culturally and operationally,” says Manulife’s CEO Donald Guloien.

He points out that the advisors working with Manulife and the insurer’s frontline staff are customer centristic. “But we need to align our entire organization and provide advanced tools and capabilities to help them achieve those goals. Indeed our ability to offer insurance and wealth products in equal measure and our ability to offer truly customer needs based solutions will competitively differentiate our distribution channels,” he explains.

360 degree view

To realize the first phase of his strategy, Guloien wants Manulife to build a 360 degree view of the customer to engage them in more personal and thoughtful conversations; deliver a simpler, more needs-focused customer experience; and equip Manulife distributors with tools that enable them to meet a broader range of customer needs.

Manulife will also focus on the channels of distribution where it has more control in an end-to-end customer experience so that it can meet a broader range of customer needs. “This includes growing direct channels and advice channels that can be accessed anytime anywhere,” Guloien says.

The second theme is to continue to build and integrate global wealth and asset management businesses. Guloien also plans to expand Manulife’s investment offices into key markets, going beyond areas with existing operations.

“The need for high quality wealth and asset management expertise is growing around the world. Customers and opportunities to invest are virtually everywhere. We plan to selectively expand our footprint to meet the needs of global customers be they individual investors, pension funds or sovereign wealth funds,” he says.

The third pillar of the strategy is to leverage Manulife’s skills and experiences across its international operations, following sizable investments.

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