Manulife sees 60% growth in high net worth segment

Confident in their products and innovation, Manulife’s chief product officer treats competition as good for customers.

Manulife is zeroing in on the high net worth segment of the population in the Asia Pacific region after a 60% surge is expected to happen in the next five years.

Thomas Lee, Manulife Singapore’s chief product officer, said that the company has long identified high net worth population as a key focus area and witnessing significant growth in that segment has kept Manulife staying ahead.

“The high net worth segment is very important to Manulife,” Lee told Insurance Asia, noting that the segment is a lucrative market for specialised financial products and services.

One of Manulife’s flagship products, the Signature Indexed Universal Life Select, has played a pivotal role in addressing the evolving demands of high net worth individuals by offering both wealth accumulation and protection coverage.

As competition in the high net worth segment intensifies, Lee noted that it benefits customers. “We believe it is good for customers because that means more product choices,” he said, adding that pricing also becomes more competitive.

Lee identified three key trends that are shaping the market starting with increased awareness of insurance and financial planning. This was accelerated as the pandemic swept across the globe.

The second trend is the emergence of a younger high net worth generation which heralded freeing up cash for investment– a departure from the older generation’s wealth preservation mindset.

He also mentioned the growing demand for wealth planning, including trusts and complex asset structures, which insurers must align with.

He cited the significant increase in interest rates as an example of how market dynamics can affect product attractiveness, emphasising the need for regular product evaluation and adaptation to remain relevant.

On Manulife’s customer engagement initiatives, Lee mentioned the Emerald Circle which is designed to better understand and serve high net worth customers.

He also introduced the Manulife Private Client Services program to equip financial advisors with the expertise to meet the expectations of high net worth clients.

Lee said that Manulife Singapore’s strategies for bolstering its high net worth focus include innovating and continuing to fulfill customer needs as well as its distribution capabilities, spanning partnerships with banks, financial advisor channels, and international brokers.

This collaboration among markets facilitates knowledge sharing, enhances efficiency, and fosters customer-friendly processes, he said.

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