Manulife Financial shorted around $5.01 billion worth of equity futures contracts between October 1 and December 31, Bloomberg reports. The biggest Canadian insurer is looking to reduce risk tied to the equity markets after falling stock prices contributed to five losses in the past eight quarters.
Manulife has also boosted its hedging programme by adding $803.07 million of “guaranteed value” in variable annuities and sold $200.77 million of equities backing insurance liabilities. It is seeking to lower its interest-rate exposures by about 25% by the end of 2012 and about 50% by the end of 2014.
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