Manulife Financial has reported a net income attributed to shareholders of C$63m for the fourth quarter of 2016, a 74% decrease compared to C$246m for the same period in 2015.

The fourth quarter net income attributed to shareholders includes charges of C$1.2bn due to the direct impact of markets.

For the quarter ended 31 December 2016, the company’ core earnings increased by 50% to C$1.2bn from C$859m during the corresponding period in 2016.

The group's wealth and asset management businesses generated net flows of C$6.1bn, a decrease of 29.8% compared to $8.7bn in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The company achieved total assets under management and administration of C$977bn as at 31 December 2016, an increase of 6% compared with 2015

Manulife president and CEO Donald Guloien said: “Manulife achieved particularly strong operating results, ending the year with $4 billion in core earnings, an increase of 17% from the prior year; and achieving the target we set back in 2012.

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“While the overall impact of higher rates is highly positive over the long term for our Company, net income was negatively impacted by market movements in the fourth quarter. For the full year, net income was $2.9 billion, an increase of 34% over the prior year.

“On the basis of the strong operating results, and our outlook for growth going forward, the Board today approved an 11% increase to our dividend, marking our third consecutive year of increases,” Guloien added.

Manulife CFO Steve Roder said: “In Asia, we achieved a 29% increase in APE sales compared to 2015, and a 35% increase in new business value, which speaks to the quality of sales we generated. We also delivered $15 billion in net flows in our global Wealth and Asset Management businesses, our seventh consecutive positive year.

“The mark-to-market impact of interest rates and equity markets subjects our net income to negative and positive variability, which can be material. We do not consider these impacts to be reflective of the underlying earnings capacity of our business and it was for reasons like this that we introduced the core earnings measure a few years ago.”