Manulife to cut 700 jobs in overhaul of Canadian business

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp. says it will cut its workforce by about 700 jobs as part of a wider restructuring of its operations as it makes a greater push to digital.The company says the job cuts will come through voluntary exit programs and natural attrition over the next 18 months.Manulife says it will require fewer staff as it automates and digitizes existing customer transactions and consolidates other administrative and operational back-office functions.The company says it has more than 13,000 staff in Canada as part of a global workforce of about 35,000 people. The cuts represent about 5 per cent of Manulife’s Canadian employees and 2 per cent of its global workforce.The company says it will look to recruit and train top digital talent as it looks to reorient its customer service model.Manulife says it will also consolidate its two Kitchener-Waterloo operations into one Canadian division headquarters.Roy Gori, who was appointed chief executive of the Toronto-based insurer last October, has expressed his desire to modernise the business with technology, once saying the insurance industry was “still in the dark ages”.Shares of Manulife were slightly higher at $24.86 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon. With files from Reuters