Manulife completes first issuance of a green bond by a life insurer

On November 21, 2017, Manulife Financial Corporation (Manulife) completed an offering in Singapore of SGD 500-million principal amount of 3.00 per cent subordinated notes due November 21, 2029 (the Notes). The Notes will bear interest at a fixed rate of 3.00 per cent until November 21, 2024, and thereafter at a rate of 0.832 per cent over the prevailing five-year SGD Swap Rate.

The Notes are Manulife’s first green bond issuance, with an amount equal to the net proceeds intended to be used to finance or re-finance, in part or in full, new and/or existing Eligible Assets consistent with Manulife’s recently released Green Bond Framework (the Framework), available on Manulife’s website. The Framework is aligned with the International Capital Market Association’s Green Bond Principles 2017, and directs the use of proceeds towards renewable energy, green buildings, sustainably-managed forests, energy efficiency, clean transport, sustainable water management and/or pollution prevention and control.

The Notes are the first green bond issuance by a life insurance company and also the first green bond issuance by a Canadian issuer to be certified as Climate Bonds by the Climate Bonds Initiative, an investor-focused not-for-profit organization, promoting large-scale investment in the low-carbon economy.

DBS Bank Ltd., The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers.

The offering was made pursuant to an offering circular dated November 14, 2017.

Manulife was represented by an in-house team led by Eddy Mezzetta, Vice-President and Chief Counsel, and Michael Ward, Assistant Vice-President and Senior Counsel. Jonathan Horan, Phill Hall and Samuel Lee (corporate/securities) from Linklaters Singapore Pte. Ltd.; and David Seville, Robert Shaw and Michael Murphy (corporate/securities), Blair Keefe (regulatory) and Jerald Wortsman (tax) from Torys LLP provided external support.

The joint lead managers were represented by Allen & Overy LLP with a team that was composed of Jeremy Stoupas, Aloysius Tan and Angela Liu (corporate/securities). 

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