A new framework agreement intended to strengthen cooperation in areas such as insurance custody and bancassurance in China, as well as other business arrangements in North America, has been confirmed by Manulife Financial Corp. (Toronto) and Bank of China (Beijing). The deal marks a "next stage" in a relationship that has been cultivated over the past 12 months, according to the two financial institutions. The framework takes effect immediate and is intended to run for a minimum of two years.
"As more and more Chinese and Canadian companies and citizens look to each other's home country for business opportunities, academic pursuits or simply as a holiday destination, we view closer cooperation between Bank of China and Manulife as an opportunity to realize business opportunities together," said Donald Guloien, President and CEO of Manulife Financial in his speech at the signing ceremony, which took place at Bank of China's headquarters in Beijing.
Guloien also noted that China is an important market for Manulife, and the bancassurance partnership between Manulife's joint venture life insurance company, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance (MSL) and Bank of China will be an important source for future growth. In May 2011, MSL signed a bancassurance distribution agreement with Bank of China. This has facilitated the ability for MSL's products to be distributed via Bank of China in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Additionally, Bank of China is also a major custodian and distributor of Manulife Financial's joint venture fund management company, Manulife-TEDA Fund Management.
Bank of China was represented at the signing ceremony by Chen Siqing, EVP, and Xu Chen, General Manager, Financial Institution Department. Chen said, "I strongly believe that, Bank of China will continue to adhere to its customer-oriented banking philosophy, constantly and consistently offering high quality and efficient financial services to all customers. We are confident that this mutually beneficial cooperation will further promote our business development and achieve win-win prospects for both institutions."