John Hancock Launches Fiduciary Standards Warranty For 401(k) Plans

  • First of its kind in the industry

  • Promises to restore plan losses and pay litigation costs

BOSTON, (October 3, 2005) - John Hancock Retirement Plan Services today introduced the 401(k) industry's first Fiduciary Standards Warranty. The Warranty provides 401(k) plan sponsors and participants with specific assurances that its investment selection and monitoring process satisfies fiduciary standards established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The company promises to restore plan losses and pay litigation costs related to the suitability of this process or the investment options themselves. The warranty is being offered at no extra cost to plan sponsors.

"We recognize that fund selection and monitoring is an important part of the due diligence process, and we are confident that our investment selection and monitoring process meets the highest fiduciary standards," said Susan Bellingham, Senior Vice President for Marketing Development, Retirement Plan Services. "We are committed to helping employers meet the highest fiduciary standards for selection and monitoring of the investments they offer their 401(k) participants."

Plans that offer at least one investment option in designated asset classes and lifestyle portfolios covering five risk categories will automatically qualify for the John Hancock Fiduciary Standards Warranty. Under the Warranty John Hancock promises that the investment alternatives these plans make available to participants:

  • Have been selected and monitored by John Hancock using a process that satisfies the ERISA prudence requirements for investment selection

  • Are appropriate for long-term investors such as 401(k) participants

  • Offer a broad range of investment alternatives, as prescribed under ERISA

The Warranty applies to all the funds in the John Hancock lineup, not just those managed by John Hancock. And a plan's independent advisors will continue to add considerable value to the investment selection and monitoring process through the resources that they provide to plan sponsors.

"We have focused on three areas of fiduciary responsibility for plan investments that are very important to employers," said Paul Henry, Director of Strategic Planning and Market Research, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. "Our program covers all current and new clients who meet its requirements and demonstrates the quality of our investment selection and monitoring process, which has received the Standard & Poor's Quality Evaluation Seal two years in row. The confidence we have in our process means that plan sponsors and their advisors can also be confident that they are working with a long-term partner that they can trust."

About John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (previously Manulife) has been in the qualified retirement plan markets since the 1980s and has become the #1 Full Service provider to 401(k) plans (2005 CFO Magazine 401(k) Buyers Guide). "Full-service" denotes providers, including banks, insurance and mutual fund companies offering both recordkeeping and investments, as defined by CFO magazine: plans managed and asset growth based on plans in force at December 31, 2004 (published July 2005).

About Manulife Financial and John Hancock
John Hancock is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$364 billion (US$297 billion) as at June 30, 2005.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including whole life, term life, variable life, and universal life insurance, as well as college savings products, fixed and variable annuities, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and various forms of business insurance.

Insurance products are issued by the following John Hancock insurance companies: John Hancock Life Insurance Company, John Hancock Variable Life Insurance Company*, John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)* and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York.

*Not licensed in New York

SOURCE John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

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