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Manulife to pull business from Matrix Asset Management

Manulife headquarters in Toronto

KEVIN FRAYER/Canadian Press

Manulife Financial Corp. plans to yank its hefty institutional business from Matrix Asset Management Inc. in June.

The Toronto-based insurer is the largest institutional client of Matrix's Seamark Asset Management unit, and accounted for about 24 per cent of Matrix's overall assets under management as of last Sept. 30. That business, however, only represented 3 per cent of revenues for the same period.

Matrix, a wealth management company with $1.9-billion in assets under management, was created in 2010 following the merger of Halifax-based Seamark Asset Management Ltd. and Vancouver-based GrowthWorks Ltd.

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David Levi, chief executive officer of Matrix, said in a statement late Thursday that he is "disappointed" that Manulife is leaving as a client, and is exploring several options to build Seamark's business. The potential financial impact of the loss of the Manulife business is under review.

Seamark, one of Atlantic Canada's best-known investment firms, provides investment services mainly to institutional clients such as pension funds. Seamark's woes began in 2006 after it lost mutual fund client IA Clarington Investments Inc., which withdrew $3-billion in assets. Seamark founder Peter Marshall retired as its chief executive officer in 2003.

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