Manulife Financial Corp. said Thursday it plans to cut about 700 jobs in Canada over the next 18 months as it moves to digitize and combine some of its operations.
The company said the cuts will come through voluntary exits and natural attrition.
The company currently employs more than 13,000 staff in Canada, having added about 2,000 people over the past five years. Manulife said it employs about 35,000 people globally.
In addition to the announcement of job cuts, the company also said it plans to consolidate two separate locations into one Canadian headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.
Manulife Canada president and CEO Michael Doughty said customers’ embrace of digital technology has changed their expectations for how they interact with their financial service providers.
“Our industry has not kept pace with this change,” Doughty said in a release.
He said the company is changing to focus on digital innovation and operational efficiency “to ensure we remain competitive and make it easier for customers to do business with us.”
The company also said it is hiring and retraining employees across the country with a focus on technology skills.
Shares of Manulife Financial rose five cents to close at $24.89 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
On May 2, the company reported first-quarter earnings that topped market expectations. The company reported core earnings per share of 64 cents per share. The average analyst estimate was for a profit of 62 cents a share.
Manulife said its core earnings for the quarter came in at $1.3 billion, an increase of $202 million, with the firm citing strong growth in Asia along with its global wealth and asset management businesses for the increase.