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Manulife investors in for a long haul: De Bever

Long term investors in Manulife Financial (MFC-T) have weathered a near 70-percent drop in the company's stock over the past five years. Leo de Bever, CEO and CIO  at the Alberta Investment Management Corp., which manages $71 billion in Alberta public sector pensions and government funds, tells BNN that long-term investors can expect a turnaround -- eventually.

"It's fundamentally a very sound company that has some obligations that in the current environment...that are problematic," he says. "I think in the long run Manulife will ride this out, but the long run might be very long."

De Bever says the company's current position is "sad" and "it shouldn't have happened."

"It's become a levered play on the stock market because of the business they wrote in 2006 to 2008 era," he adds.

Manulife was hit during the financial crisis due to its exposure to guaranteed annuity products that it sold in the previous decade. The company was forced to issue new shares to raise its capital levels and has since pursued an aggressive hedging strategy to limit its exposure to equity markets.

De Bever was formerly a fund manager at Manulife Financial Services CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24