Manulife CEO highlights growth in Asia and digital innovation

Roy Gori reports Manulife's traction in Asia and focus on AI, portfolio optimization, and culture

Manulife CEO highlights growth in Asia and digital innovation

Manulife CEO Roy Gori has reported that the company is gaining traction, driven mainly by its Asian and wealth management businesses, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.

Gori, who became CEO in 2017, aimed to make Manulife “the most digital, consumer-centric company in the industry” after contributing to the expansion of the company’s Asian operations.

Manulife’s shares have increased by over 20 percent year-to-date. Gori emphasized that Asia would remain a significant focus for the company’s organic growth. He noted that insurance and wealth penetration in Asia is still low, presenting substantial opportunities for growth.

However, Gori clarified that Manulife is not dependent on a single market or region. He highlighted the company’s strength in having a diverse business capable of withstanding global market fluctuations.

In addition to focusing on business growth, Gori has prioritized optimizing the company’s portfolio. Manulife recently finalized two reinsurance deals, moving away from low-growth assets to free up capital. These efforts have resulted in $11bn in capital being made available since 2018.

Gori explained that divesting from risky, low-return businesses has allowed the company to reinvest in more profitable organic businesses.

Manulife is also investing heavily in new technologies, particularly generative AI. Gori pointed out that the industry has struggled with digitizing customer experiences, but Manulife has made significant strides in integrating new technologies over the past six years.

He believes AI offers a tremendous opportunity to enhance customer experience through digital tools.

Regarding interest rates, Gori mentioned that the company has benefited from higher rates and could also gain from a potential rate cut by the Bank of Canada in July. He noted that Manulife has hedged its interest rate exposure and is well-positioned to handle rate fluctuations.

Gori also stressed the importance of workplace culture, which he views as crucial to the company’s success. He believes that a strong culture is the only competitive advantage a company has and noted that Manulife has been recognized for its efforts in this area.