An active U.S. equity team that joined Manulife Asset Management in January has taken over management of three portfolios with combined assets of nearly $1.8 billion previously overseen by a Manulife quantitative team based in Toronto.
Christopher Conkey, chief investment officer, global equities at Manulife Asset Management, said in an e-mail that the move was part of “our transition to a more fundamental approach for our active strategies.”
Mr. Conkey said the acquisition in January of the core and value equity team — led by Walter T. McCormick and Emory W. “Sandy” Sanders Jr., both of whom Mr. Conkey had worked with previously at Evergreen Investments — gave Manulife the option of shifting the assets to a fundamental active team with an attractive long-term track record.
The portfolios being assumed by the new team are the $1.23 billion Optimized All Cap Trust and the $189 million Optimized Value Trust, both of which are part of the annuity and life insurance-focused John Hancock Trust platform; and the $335 million Optimized Value Fund, part of the retail retirement plan-focused JHF II platform.
With the transition, Manulife is no longer offering any active quant equity strategies, Mr. Conkey said.
While quantitatively based equity investing has a place within the broad spectrum of investment approaches, “the challenge is bringing to the market quantitative approaches that have the ability to both create and maintain unique competitive advantages across market cycles,” he noted.
Beth McGoldrick, spokeswoman for Manulife Asset Management, couldn’t immediately provide further information regarding the status of the firm’s Toronto-based quant team.