Manulife IM Philippines expects customer growth

MANULIFE Investment Management and Trust Corp. (Manulife IM Philippines) expects their customers to rise this year despite high inflation and rising interest rates as more Filipinos seek to grow their finances.

“Our goal (is) to continue expanding our range of investment solutions, because different asset classes, different sectors react to market developments in varying ways,” Manulife IM Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Aira Gaspar said in an interview on Oct. 14.

“But that said, given that the Federal Reserve has expressed commitment to continue tightening on monetary policy into weakening economic conditions, we expect risk assets to remain under pressure and volatility to continue in the months ahead,” she said.

The Fed has raised policy rates by a total of 375 basis points (bps) since March.

Back home, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is likely to match the Fed’s monetary tightening and deliver its second 75-bp rate increase this year at its Nov. 17 meeting to tame inflation and support the peso.

Ms. Gaspar said Manulife IM Philippines has several funds with different sensitivities to inflation and rising interest rates.

“For example, we launched the Global Health Care Fund, which provides access to the healthcare sector, which is one of the most recession-proof sectors. So, healthcare sector benefits from medical advances, ageing population, rising healthcare costs and unmet medical needs,” she said.

“We also have been building up our income paying funds which provide regular income streams, and even during periods of heightened inflation pressures and rising interest rate environment,” she added.

However, Ms. Gaspar noted that some investors are less aggressive and would prefer relatively more defensive strategies against the expected heightened volatility in the equities market.

“This includes our money market fund, which investors can use as a stable holding facility while waiting for better market conditions,” she said.

“In terms of our plans for this year, so this quarter, we’re going to expand further the range of our UITFs (unit investment trust funds) that can be accessed at more affordable investment sizes. So hopefully with that, with that initiative, we can attract more young investors like you to start investing and build your wealth portfolio as early as now,” Ms. Gaspar added.

She said Manulife IM Philippines targets to build on its track record and offer “differentiated solutions to investors, those that really resonate with the needs of Filipinos.” — Keisha B. Ta-asan