Manulife and MaRS announce partnership dedicated to financial technology innovation

TORONTO, November 23, 2015 – Manulife has partnered with MaRS Discovery District, continuing to transform how it connects with customers worldwide by collaborating with innovators and startups on forward-thinking solutions. Manulife will be a part of MaRS’ FinTech Cluster, and will join companies like Airbnb, Facebook Canada, Moneris, PayPal and other startups at the centre.

As part of the new partnership, MaRS will become Manulife’s Toronto location for its Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT). Centered on innovation, the tangible LOFT spaces provide a platform for employees across the company to collaborate and devise new technological solutions for Manulife’s various wealth and asset management, and insurance business lines.

Manulife opened a LOFT site in Boston in July 2015, and there are plans to expand its innovation network to Singapore. In 2014, Manulife launched a similar innovation hub in Waterloo Region’s Communitech Hub called RED Lab.

“We’re looking to our employees to solve problems and take risks using their own unique entrepreneurial talents,” said Sebastian Blandizzi, Senior Vice President, Global Solutions Delivery and Chief Information Officer, Investment Division, Manulife. “Initiatives like LOFT are critical to our future success as we strive to create innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

“The internal infrastructure that companies like Manulife are building, with projects like LOFT, is central to the future of business and technology innovation,” said Salim Teja, Executive Vice President, Venture Services, MaRS. “LOFT’s arrival at MaRS and our partnership with Manulife will significantly expand the resources and networks available to our entrepreneurial community.”

Unleash Toronto: From Paper to Prototype

On December 1 and 2, LOFT will host a two-day public hackathon at MaRS Discovery District called Unleash Toronto: From Paper to Prototype. The event will bring together 150 participants including Manulife employees from Canada, Asia, Europe and the U.S. (where the company operates as John Hancock).

Unleash Toronto builds on the success of the Unleash Boston hackathon held for employees in July 2015. Participants will collaborate to develop prototypes in response to the event’s challenge: How might we help customers redefine and reimagine what it means to invest with Manulife through the use of new business models, new channels and new technology?

Manulife’s LOFT can be found at @InnovateForward on Instagram and Twitter.

About Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2014, we had 28,000 employees, 58,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers. At the end of September 2015, we had $888 billion (US$663 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $23 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong. Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit or

About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports promising young ventures that are tackling key societal challenges in the health, cleantech and information and communications technology sectors. In the last three years, these ventures have raised $1.3 billion in capital and earned $640 million in revenue. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.

Media Contacts:
Sean B. Pasternak

Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District