Manulife Hires Ex-TD Fund Managers for Natural Resources

Jun 17, 2014 3:20 pm ET

(Updates with Toronto-Dominion comment in seventh paragraph.)

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest insurer, hired Craig Bethune and Diana Racanelli as the company establishes a team that will bet on natural resource stocks for institutional investors.

Bethune and Racanelli will co-lead the new group and report to Christopher Conkey, chief investment officer of global equities at Manulife’s asset-management arm, the Toronto-based insurer said in a statement today. The money managers previously worked for Toronto-Dominion Bank, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Manulife, the owner of Boston-based John Hancock, is among insurers seeking to boost fee income while limiting risk in capital-intensive businesses such as variable annuities. Sun Life Financial Inc. this year created three funds of real estate and fixed income assets.

Bethune and Racanelli will oversee funds for “institutional clients and certain wealth-management businesses of Manulife and John Hancock, expanding our investment capabilities,” Conkey said in the statement.

They will invest in public equities and possibly private assets for several pooled funds, and will later create a mutual fund, Beth McGoldrick, a spokeswoman for the insurer, said in an e-mail.

The target size of the mutual fund hasn’t been established, she said. Bethune and Racanelli will look to hire more people as their operation grows, McGoldrick said.

Toronto-Dominion hasn’t made plans yet regarding replacements for the fund managers, said Meghan Thomas, a spokeswoman for the bank. She said they each made a “personal decision” to leave the company.

Manulife Financial oversaw C$635 billion ($574 billion) worldwide as of March 31, 2014, according to the statement. Its offerings include a global natural resources fund, with holdings of energy companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp.