UPDATE 2-Manulife promises stability, Asian growth

Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:47pm EST
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* Asia seen as driver of profit growth

* Insurer targets less earnings volatility

* Markets have weighed on earnings

* Paul Rooney promoted to COO

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp is increasing its dependence on Asia as a means to reach a C$4 billion core profit goal by 2016 and promises a departure from the volatile earnings that have plagued recent quarters.

"We expect to see less volatile and far more sustainable earnings than the earnings of the past," Donald Guloien, chief executive of Canada's largest insurer, said at a company investor presentation in Toronto.

The profit goal represents a near doubling of Manulife's current level of profitability, as the insurer had core profit - which excludes the direct impact of financial markets - of C$1.65 billion through the first 9 months of 2012.

The goal, affirmed last week, represents a slight reduction on its previous target of C$4 billion in net profit by 2015.   Continued...