Manulife Hong Kong reached a new milestone at the end of 2011 with the number of its full-time agents passing the 5,000 mark for the first time. The announcement comes as its Canada-based parent company Manulife Financial prepares to celebrate its 125th Anniversary in 2012.Compared with the figure of 12 months ago, Manulife Hong Kong’s agency numbers have increased by nine per cent — from 4,600 to more than 5,000. Such a growth rate is significantly higher than the market average for the period between November 2010 and November 2011* of about 5.7 cent increase in the number of insurance agents. “With its consistent evolution over more than a century, Manulife has developed considerable financial strength and a reliable and trustworthy brand name — which are among the main reasons why we can attract talent from different industries to join our agency force,” explained Michael Huddart, Manulife’s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong. “Hitting the milestone 5,000 figure is both a remarkable achievement in itself and a demonstration of our determination to continue expanding our agency force as part of our strategic growth initiatives in Hong Kong.” Emil Lee, Manulife’s Senior Vice President and Chief Distribution Officer in Hong Kong, said: “At Manulife, we treat our agents as life-time partners. While we have seen their numbers grow continually over the years, we are equally proud of the fact that nearly 25 per cent of our agents have served the company for more than a decade. Two of our most experienced and distinguished agents have been with us for more than 50 years. Such loyalty and stability of personnel have played an important role in generating our premium customer service. We will continue to invest in agency training and development, including state-of-the-art sales tools, with the aim of equipping our agents to serve our 1.6 million customers even better.” The strong base of full-time professional agents is Manulife Hong Kong’s core distribution platform. Their professional expertise and financial-planning capacity were affirmed by Manulife receiving the “Best Company for Financial Planning Excellence” award in the insurance sector for five consecutive years from 2007 to 2011 in the Financial Planning Awards co-organized by the South China Morning Post and Institute of Financial Planners Hong Kong. *Latest statistics from the Insurance Agents Registration Report — November 2011 published by The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers.