Essential equity team

Formed 25 years ago and based in Toronto, the Manulife Essential Equity Team members have a collective 190 years of investment experience. The team oversees more than $28 billion* in assets under management.

The essential equity difference

  • Funds are built as business conglomerates—Each stock is thought of as a division of a business.
  • Diversification by business risk—Holding stocks that engage in different businesses helps to limit risks to the overall fund.
  • Downside protection—Because of their composition, the team’s funds tend to decrease less than the markets when a correction occurs.

Get to know the Manulife essential equity team

The team’s approach to building a fund is to think of themselves as being CEOs of a private conglomerate business. Each stock holding can be thought of as a different subsidiary of the conglomerate business. The team seeks to diversify funds by business risk so that revenue and earnings come from multiple diversified and uncorrelated sources; therefore, no one subsidiary can take down the entire conglomerate business. A fund that’s well diversified by business risk means that any individual business event would have limited impact on the entire portfolio.

Meet the team behind the funds

Prakash Chaudhari, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager, Co-Head
Investing since 2000

Conrad Dabiet, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager, Co-Head
Investing since 2003

Jonathan Popper, CIM

Senior Portfolio Manager
Investing since 1995

Chris Hensen, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager
Investing since 1995

Fahad Datoo

Senior Investment Analyst
Investing since 2008

Alex Rasmussen, CFA

Senior Investment Analyst
Investing since 2019

Sarah Yoshida

Investment Analyst
Investing since 2019

Marvin Halili

Investment Analyst
Investing since 2018

Nat Yulores

Assistant Investment Officer
Investing since 1991

Team members and responsibilities listed are as of June 20, 2023.

Investment process

The Manulife essential equity team relies on a scalable and repeatable process to analyze companies; this process has remained unchanged since the team was founded in 1996. They believe that a fund assembled at reasonable valuations creates business value faster than a given benchmark index and will typically result in long-term outperformance.

Scalable and repeatable process

Illustration to show their scalable and repeatable process:  Assess business returns Assess business risks Calculate company valuation through proprietary approach Portfolio management Portfolio construction

The team’s scalable, repeatable process underpins their differentiated funds. Diversifying by business risk has helped protect the funds during market downturns and rewarded investors over the medium to long term.

Investment Philosophy

Table showing their investment philosophy.  Business value creation Risk is not stock price volatility Stock market price is not a leader A portfolio can be constructed as a “Conglomerate” company  Under Business value creation: Can be evaluated and priced through fundamental analysis and business valuation work Is universal regardless of market, sector, geography, market-cap or time  Why risk is not stock price volatility:  It resides at the underlying business level It manifests itself as operating risk, financial and poor management  Why stock market price is not a leader It follows business value creation over the long-term It can be extremely inefficient in the short-term – their fundamental proprietary buy and sell targets exploit this inefficiency  How a portfolio can be constructed as a “Conglomerate” company:  Each “division” or holding plays a critical role in the construction of the portfolio The “conglomerate” company or portfolio is fully diversified by underlying business risk  Overall, their ingrained beliefs drive their proprietary process.

Portfolio managers may use some or all of the techniques described. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee returns or eliminate risk in any market environment. Characteristics, guidelines, and constraints are for illustrative purposes only. They may change at any time and may differ for a specific account.

Funds/pools managed

* As of June 30, 2021 CAD.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the fund facts as well as the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Manulife Funds (including the Trust Pools) and Manulife Corporate Classes (including the Class Pools) are managed by Manulife Investment Management Limited (formerly named Manulife Asset Management Limited). Manulife Investment Management is a trade name of Manulife Investment Management Limited. Manulife, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and its affiliates under license.

Any amount that is allocated to a segregated fund is invested at the risk of the contractholder and may increase or decrease in value. Returns shown are after the MER has been deducted. Performance histories are not indicative of future performance. For information on guarantees, fees and expenses that may apply to segregated funds, please read the Information Folder, Contract and Fund Facts of the segregated funds. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) is the issuer of insurance contracts containing Manulife segregated funds and the guarantor of any guarantee provisions therein.  Manulife Investment Management is a trade name of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company.