Manulife Canada

Manulife Canada

The legal team of Manulife Canada is comprised of approximately 110 people, split more or less equally between lawyers, paralegals and other support staff. General counsel Canada, Martin Guest, leads the legal team which supports Manulife’s Canadian businesses as part of the insurance company’s worldwide legal groups, with Manulife lawyers based in Canada, the US, Asia, and elsewhere. The Canada legal team operates in five main areas – litigation; insurance; global contracts and technology; employment; and divisional law. The litigation team is led by Bruce Bos, chief counsel of litigation, and handles more than 1,000 cases annually. Bos leads a team of approximately 25 lawyers, who are supported by a similar number of paralegals and assistants. The insurance team is led by Ingrid Gendreau, chief counsel of insurance. This team is responsible for Manulife’s individual insurance business, as well as the group benefits and affinity markets businesses, and consists of about 20 people, most of whom are lawyers. Alexandra Warly, chief counsel for global technology, leads a team of lawyers who are responsible for all technology and significant contract matters for the entire organisation, including both Canada and the rest of the world. Karen Borden, chief counsel of employment law for Canada, serves the human resources team whilst the remainder of the Canadian business is covered by the divisional law team which is led by David Connolly, chief counsel divisional law and Manulife Bank. This team is responsible for Manulife Bank, the group retirement services business, and legal operations and is made up of about 20 people. Manulife recently created an entirely new business segment for its global wealth and asset management business. The legal teams, both in Canada and elsewhere, needed to restructure to better align with this new business structure. In that context, the Manulife Canada legal team went through a significant reorganisation in the summer of 2018 to enhance alignment with the business segments. Another significant development was the creation of a new legal operations function within the Canada team, to help improve efficiency and effectiveness as a legal function. Manulife Canada operates a very diverse range of financial service businesses, so the legal team is continually involved in a wide array of challenging files. One of the most noteworthy transactions occurred in early 2015 when Manulife acquired the Canadian operations of Standard Life for approximately C$4bn. Guest highlights the Canadian legal team’s vision is being able to: ‘Find smart solutions to the complexities of law and compliance to help drive the business forward’.