The team behind the Portfolios – Manulife Asset Management’s Portfolio Solutions Group (PSG)

Applying active asset allocation successfully takes a proven team. Manulife Asset Management’s Portfolio Solutions Group (PSG) has built its reputation and global wealth management credentials on its asset allocation expertise. With over CAD $147 billion1 in assets under management, the group manages a wide variety of investment solutions around the globe designed to meet investor goals.

PSG Investment Process:

PSG’s investment process is amongst the most comprehensive in the industry and ensures every portfolio is optimized by asset class, investment style, and geographic region. They apply a rigorous three-step process:

Step 1:

Build expected return forecasts

  • Five-year investment returns forecast for 140 different asset classes
  • Distinct approaches for asset classes
  • Quarterly review

Step 2:

Asset class and strategy selection

  • Asset allocation is the primary driver of returns
  • Selection of complementary strategies with an emphasis on consistent results
  • Annual review

Step 3:

Portfolio Construction

  • Four-pillar approach to ongoing active management
  • Emphasis on managing risk
  • Short term opportunities reviewed weekly

Meet the Team:

Portfolio Managers

Nathan Thooft, CFA, is a senior managing director, senior portfolio manager and co-head of Portfolio Solutions Group (PSG) North America at Manulife Asset Management. PSG is responsible for the development and growth of Manulife’s asset allocation solutions for individual and institutional investors in the US, Canada and Asia. Nathan leads fundamental research efforts for PSG and has responsibility for the day-to-day portfolio management of Manulife’s Lifestyle (target-risk) and Lifecycle (target-date) Portfolios, as well as a wide array of PSG’s other strategic, tactical and absolute return multi-asset class portfolios. During his time with Manulife, Nathan has served in many senior asset allocation and research roles spanning Canada, Asia and the US. Nathan leads PSG's proprietary asset class return forecasting process and the implementation of asset class and strategy views. More

Previously, Nathan was vice president and director of investments, Investment Management Services (IMS), for John Hancock Financial, the US division of Manulife Financial Corp. Nathan was responsible leading manager research efforts, asset class research, and for the development and daily monitoring of investment platforms in the US and Asia. Prior to joining John Hancock, Nathan was a senior portfolio analyst within the investment management division of Fidelity Investments, where he was responsible for research and investment communications for the small- and mid-cap equity teams. Nathan also served as vice president, senior product consultant at RBC Wealth Management, a leading US broker dealer. In that role, he developed customized asset allocation and investment strategies, evaluated traditional and alternative investment managers, and consulted for a large national brokerage force. Nathan is a CFA charterholder, and he is a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society and the CFA Institute.

Education: University of Minnesota, BA, 2000; University of Minnesota, MBA, 2006
Joined Company: 2008
Began Career: 2000

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Marcelle Daher, CFA, is a senior managing director, senior portfolio manager and co-head of Portfolio Solutions Group (PSG) North America at Manulife Asset Management. PSG is responsible for the development and growth of Manulife’s asset allocation solutions for individual and institutional investors in the US, Canada, and Asia. Solutions include individual target date and target risk strategies, alternative and international asset allocation portfolios, and highly customized corporate pension plans. Marcelle has responsibility for the day-to-day monitoring and portfolio management of Manulife’s Lifestyle (target-risk) and Lifecycle (target-date) Portfolios, as well as a wide array of PSG’s other asset allocation portfolios. During her time with Manulife, Marcelle has served in many senior asset allocation, pension and specialty roles spanning Canada, Asia and the US. She has also played a leading role in several key cross enterprise strategic initiatives geared towards growing the depth and breadth of Manulife’s capabilities as a premier provider of investment and retirement solutions and helping to define and address the growing challenges facing future retirees worldwide. More

Previously, Marcelle was vice president and director of investments, Investment Management Services (IMS), for John Hancock Financial, the US division of Manulife Financial Corp., where she was responsible for the development and daily monitoring of investment platforms in Asia. Marcelle began her financial services career at Fidelity Investments in 1999, where she held a variety of investment oriented positions within their defined contribution and investment management groups. Her most recent role focused on working closely with and providing investment analytical support to the global asset allocation team responsible for managing in excess of $380 billion of multi-asset class strategies for retail and institutional clients. Marcelle is a CFA charterholder, and she is a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society and of the CFA Institute.

Education: Bentley College, Master of Finance, 2006<
Joined Company: 2008
Began Career: 1999

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James “Jamie” Robertson, MBA, CIM, is a senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. Based in Toronto, Jamie is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Manulife’s Canadian asset allocation franchise, including portfolio management, research and development, product development, business development and trading. He leads Canadian portfolio management efforts across a wide range of multi-asset and multi-manager solutions.

Previously, Jamie was the chief investment officer for McLean and Partners in Calgary. Prior to that, he was vice president, proprietary investments (equities) at Manulife Financial, following four years as an internal hedge fund manager there. More Earlier in his career, he held executive positions at CTSecurities, JP Morgan Canada, and BLC Securities. Jamie holds a Canadian Investment Manager (CIM) Designation from the Canadian Securities Institute.

Education: University of New Brunswick, BBA, 1979; Concordia University, MBA, 1982
Joined Company: 2016
Began Career: 1982

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Portfolio Specialist

Benjamin W. Forssell, CFA, is a managing director and portfolio specialist at Manulife Asset Management. Benjamin supports the Portfolio Solutions Group, MAM’s globally-based asset allocation investment team on all aspects of product management, assisting client facing teams in the effective communication and positioning of MAM’s asset allocation capabilities with clients, prospects and consultants.

Prior to joining Manulife’s asset management organization, Benjamin was assistant vice president & head of platform development for Manulife’s Asia Wealth Management team based in Hong Kong, managing fund selection and development for Manulife’s wealth management businesses in Asia. Prior to joining Asia Wealth Management, Benjamin worked for Manulife/John Hancock in the United States in various roles including fund selection for Manulife’s US-based wealth management businesses and a role in sales, selling separately managed accounts to independent financial advisors targeting high net worth individuals. More Benjamin started his career at Lord, Abbett& Company selling mutual funds, retirement plans and separately managed accounts to financial advisors across the United States. Benjamin is a CFA charterholder.

Education: Colgate University, BA in Philosophy and Religion, 2000
Joined Company: 2013
Began Career: 2000

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