The credit crisis has taken it's toll on the dividend of Canadian-based insurance giant Manulife Financial (MFC). Manulife's decision to cut its dividend by 50% to $0.13/share is part of an effort to build a strong capital position for what is sounds like are future acquisitions.
The CEO made the following statement today:
While we recognize the importance of the cash dividend to many of our common shareholders, we believe that retaining more of our earnings is the most effective means of building capital, while still providing an attractive yield for our shareholders who will benefit as we deploy our capital for growth. We believe that companies that build fortress levels of capital will benefit their policyholders and shareholders and be recognized favourably by regulators and ratings agencies."
This move was mildly expected, however I believe it will still come as a shock to many dividend investors, as Manulife has long been viewed as a stalwart on the Canadian and global financial scene.