Manulife Financial is set to expand its global third party private asset management business.

The new business unit will be called Manulife Asset Management Private Markets. The business unit will bring together specialized private asset teams that currently manage funds for third party investors, as well as provide investors access to Manulife Financial’s other specialized private asset investment teams that historically have primarily served its general fund.

Warren Thomson, senior executive vice president and CIO, Manulife Financial and chairman, Manulife Asset Management, said: "We have invested successfully in these private asset classes for decades and our investment teams are among the most experienced in the business. We see a tremendous opportunity to develop customized solutions for clients that wish to invest in private asset classes."

The new business unit will be headed by Kevin Adolphe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Asset Management Private Markets.

Manulife Financial manages C$74 billion of private market investments out of its total funds under management of C$575 billion. Collectively, these private assets span across private placement debt, commercial mortgages, timberland, farmland, real estate, private equity and mezzanine debt, oil and gas and power and infrastructure assets. Manulife Financial currently manages private assets for its own general fund, and in some asset classes, for third party investors as follows:

  • With C$22.1 billion in assets under management ("AUM"), the private placement debt team invests across a full range of utility, industrial, and financial corporations as well as power, energy, renewable energy and transportation projects.
  • The commercial mortgages team manages C$21.0 billion in AUM and provides financing on a diverse mix of office, multi-family, industrial, manufactured housing communities and retail and warehouse properties across Canada and the United States, with loans sourced through its regional offices located in both countries.
  • Hancock Natural Resource Group operates as three investment divisions: Hancock Timber Resource Group, the largest global institutional manager of timberland, manages C$11.5 billion in AUM and 6.5 million acres of timberland worldwide on behalf of investors. Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, with C$2.0 billion in AUM and 290,000 acres of farmland under management worldwide, is one of the largest institutional managers of agricultural real estate in the United States. Hancock Renewable Energy Group is a newly formed business that invests in biomass renewable energy projects in the United States.
  • With C$10.0 billion in AUM, Manulife’s real estate operation has fully integrated in-house capabilities and is an active investor, owner, developer and asset manager of commercial real estate. The 37 million square foot portfolio is diversified by geography and asset type and consists primarily of prime office and industrial properties, as well as select retail and multi-family residential properties in key metropolitan centers throughout Canada, the United States and Asia.
  • Manulife also has combined AUM of C$7.3 billion in private equity, infrastructure equity, mezzanine debt, and oil and gas. The private equity and mezzanine debt teams invest capital in Canada and the United States to participate in buyout financing and to provide growth capital for middle market businesses. The infrastructure equity team invests in a wide variety of infrastructure projects in the power generation and transmission, energy, and transportation sectors. NAL Resources, the company’s oil and gas subsidiary, owns and operates over 18,770 barrel of oil equivalent per day of production in Saskatchewan and central Alberta. Regional Power, the company’s renewable energy development company, is in the business of building and operating hydroelectric power plants for Manulife and third parties with a total generating capacity of 107 megawatts.

Adolphe added: "One of our key priorities will be to leverage Manulife’s investment expertise in multiple private asset classes to manage funds for third parties. To accomplish this, we plan to expand our asset management activities by building on the success achieved by our Hancock Natural Resource Group, in serving the needs of investors globally."