Systematic equity beta

Based in Toronto, ON, the team works closely with one another while they leverage the vast resources that the Manulife Investment Management global organization has to offer. This includes quantitative research, actuarial science, and environmental, social, and governance reports.

Experience and capabilities

Deep experience meets ETFs

For over 20 years, our professionals have built a reputation by delivering custom index-based solutions with a focus on research, discipline and efficient execution. This focus has led to over $52.7 billion in retail and institutional assets under management for clients across Canada, the U.S. and Asia.1


A focused perspective

Research and a rigorous process that drive core functions which lead to client-focused investment solutions.

  • Quantitative research
  • Equity market research
  • Dividend screening
  • Factor optimization
  • Efficient trading

Investment management team

Operating efficiently, and maintaining a disciplined and repeatable process, is at the core of what the team does. Here are the investment professionals behind the process.

Serge Lapierre, FSA, FCIA

Head of Liability-Driven Investments, Financial Engineering, and Quantitative Research, Sr. Portfolio Manager, Multi-Asset Solutions Team
Began career: 1994

Geoff Kelley, CFA 

Senior Portfolio Manager, Head of Strategic Asset Allocation and Systematic Equity Beta
Began career: 1994

Ashikhusein Shahpurwala, CFA, PRM

Senior Portfolio Manager
Began career: 1999

Boncana Maiga, CFA, CIM

Portfolio Manager
Began career: 2004

Allison Greenspan

Senior Analyst
Began career: 2009

Jenny Kim, CFA

Senior Analyst
Began career: 2011

Marco Leung, CFA

Senior Analyst
Began career: 2012

Research and client portfolio management

Sam Haidar, PhD

Director of Quantitative Research, Digital and DTC
Began career: 1998

Benjamin Forssell, CFA

Client Portfolio Manager
Began career: 2000

Investment processes

Manulife Smart Dividend ETF investment process

The quality dividend screen is at the foundation of the Manulife Smart Dividend ETFs. The criteria and metrics that are applied to each investment decision ensures that the ETFs maintain a consistent focus—to invest in companies with stable and growing dividends.

Posed as questions, below is the quality dividend screen the team uses when making buy, sell, or hold decisions within each ETF. The result is an efficient and scalable ETF.

  1. Is the stock liquid?
  2. Is the dividend amount sustainable, based on business performance?
  3. Compared to earnings, is the dividend payout sustainable?
  4. Can the dividend grow over time?
  5. Is the dividend yield attractive compared to competitors?

To determine the allocation of the stocks in the ETF, the team considers four factors they believe drive better risk-adjusted returns. 

The four factors are:

  1. Quality
  2. Momentum
  3. Value
  4. Yield

Based on the outcome of their proprietary model, a weight is assigned to each stock in the ETF.

The first step in the process is Quality Dividend Screen; which is a systematic screening of a universe of stocks to find quality dividend paying companies. The second step is optimization; which is understanding the characteristics of the companies and selecting the most desirable stocks. The result is a smart dividend ETF; an efficient execution to minimize tax and trading costs.
For illustration purposes only.

The finishing touches

Keys to efficient portfolio management: 

  • Keep trading costs low when buying and selling, e.g., bulk trading, 
  • Reduce turnover, when possible, e.g., avoid unnecessary trading, 
  • Put cash to use, e.g., when new money flows into the fund, put it to use,
  • and a tracking error monitoring system with targets well-inside of each ETFs performance threshold.

Manulife Smart Defensive Equity ETF investment process


As with the dividend ETFs, a screening process is at the core of the Manulife Smart Defensive Equity ETFs. 

The MSCI U.S.A Index is screened for:

  1. Stocks with a 2-year beta of less than 1.05
  2. Stocks with low volatility of earnings per share
  3. Stocks with low volatility of price change

With a new, smaller universe of low beta, high-quality stocks, the portfolio managers rank and then select securities that exhibit characteristics of two important factors – beta and quality. Once the portfolio is constructed it is monitored daily and rebalanced quarterly. 

Active investment process

Active investment process. The team screens the potential stocks for low beta. Ranks them based on volatility of earning per share and prices. They allocate assets to stocks based on beta and quality.

For illustration purposes only. 


Hedged ticker

Unhedged ticker

Fund name

Morningstar category

Management fee



Manulife Smart Dividend ETF

Canadian dividend and income equity 0.25%



Manulife Smart U.S. Dividend ETF

U.S. equity 0.33% / 0.28%



Manulife Smart U.S. Dividend ETF (USD units)

International equity




Manulife Smart International Dividend ETF

International equity




Manulife Smart Defensive Equity ETF

Canadian equity




Manulife Smart U.S. Defensive Equity ETF

U.S. equity

0.36%** / 0.31%**



Manulife Smart U.S. Defensive Equity ETF (USD units)

International equity




Manulife Smart International Defensive Equity ETF

International equity


The Manulife Smart Balanced Dividend ETF bundle, Manulife Smart Dividend ETF, and Manulife Smart U.S. Dividend ETF are now available in the GIF Select InvestmentPlus and Manulife Private Investment Pools —MPIP Segregated Pools contracts. The Manulife Smart Balanced Dividend ETF bundle is also available on the mutual fund platform.

Our entire Manulife ETFs lineup

Learn more

Manulife Smart ETFs.

Now available on our segregated fund platform.

Learn more

**Management fee.

Source: Manulife Investment Management as of June 30, 2022.

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 of the mutual funds before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Manulife Funds (including the Trust 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.