John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund (JHAAX) Crosses $1 Billion Mark Just Nine Months after Launch Major Financial Advisory Firms Add Fund to Their Recommended Lists; Retail Demand Accelerates

BOSTON, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund (JHAAX) has crossed the $1 billion in assets under management mark in the nine month period since the inception of Class A shares in December of 2011, John Hancock Funds announced.  Crossing this milestone in such a relatively short period of time makes the John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund (GARS) one of the fastest-growing funds ever for John Hancock.  

"Launching the John Hancock GARS Fund last December realized a key part of our strategy of providing investors and financial advisors exclusive access to an array of alternative investing strategies managed by premier, institutional-caliber investment management firms," said Andrew G. Arnott, President & Chief Executive Officer, John Hancock Funds. 

"In the case of John Hancock's GARS fund, that meant choosing portfolio manager and sub-adviser Standard Life Investments of Scotland, one of the world's leading managers of global absolute return strategies with more than $27 billion in assets under management in that strategy. Having offered this strategy in Europe for more than nine years, Standard Life Investments is one of the few absolute return managers with real world experience managing through various market cycles," Mr. Arnott added.

The John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund seeks to provide consistent, positive investment returns regardless of market conditions. The Fund has a broad investment mandate that permits it to use an extensive range of investment strategies and to invest in a wide spectrum of equity and fixed-income securities, as well as derivative instruments, in pursuing its investment objective.

Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Life Investments, said:  "We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with John Hancock Funds in making this strategy available to US investors. After working with John Hancock intensively for more than a year to make the GARS mutual fund a reality, we are gratified that it has shown such strength in such a short period of time.  Given the continued stresses in the global economy and volatility in the markets, the GARS strategy we believe is an effective way to deliver equity-like returns with fixed income-like volatility for global clients."

"In addition, working with John Hancock Funds has allowed us to widen our distribution footprint in North America, accessing the largest asset management market in the world," Mr. Skeoch said.

The John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund is offered as a stand-alone member of the John Hancock family of retail mutual funds, and is also a component of the John Hancock Alternative Asset Allocation Fund (JAAAX), as well as several of the John Hancock Lifestyle Funds.

Contributing significantly to the rapid asset growth of GARS has been and continues to be its addition to model portfolios or recommended lists at many of the top national investment firms, noted Mr. Arnott, while retail demand has steadily accelerated. "We are pleased that the Fund has performed well and been well-received," said Mr. Arnott. 

"Our decision to launch the Fund stemmed from our conversations with advisers who needed to offer investors ways to incorporate truly uncorrelated liquid alternatives into their portfolios. Following an extensive research and due diligence process by John Hancock Investment Management Services, our in-house group designed to identify best in class managers, we selected Standard Life Investments after numerous discussions and multiple in-person visits to their home office. What impressed us the most was the size and experience of the 27-person team that supports the strategy and how they work together to execute the approach.  Also critical is their focus on risk management.  That the Fund has attracted more than $1 billion in assets thus far we see as a validation of our process and strategy by our financial advisor partners and their firms," Mr. Arnott said.

Absolute return funds such as John Hancock GARS employ certain techniques which are intended to reduce risk and volatility in the portfolio and provide protection against a decline in the Fund's assets.  Absolute return funds are not designed to outperform stocks and bonds in strong markets; thus they are not benchmarked against the S&P 500.

About John Hancock Funds
The Boston-based mutual fund business unit of John Hancock Financial, John Hancock Funds manages more than $73.7 billion in open-end funds, closed-end funds, private accounts, college savings and retirement plans, and related party assets for individual and institutional investors as at June 30, 2012.

About Standard Life Investments
As of June 30 2012, Standard Life Investments managed $247.1 billion in assets under management across the spectrum of investment capabilities spanning equities, fixed income, real estate, private equity, multi-asset solutions, fund-of-funds as well as absolute return strategies. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Standard Life Investments employs over 1000 people. Standard Life Investments has offices globally, including locations in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Beijing, Montreal, Sydney, Dublin, Paris and Seoul. In addition, Standard Life Investments has close relationships with leading domestic players in Asia, including HDFC Asset Management in India and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Japan. Standard Life Investments was launched as an investment management company in 1998. It is a subsidiary of Standard Life Investments (Holdings) Limited, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Life plc.

In July 2012 Standard Life Investments' Multi Asset Investing Team won the Absolute Return category for GARS at Investment Week's Fund Manager of the Year Awards. In 2011 Standard Life Investments' GARS Fund won 'Best Absolute Return Fund' at the Professional Adviser Awards 2011 (UK). And in 2008, Standard Life Investments won the 'Multi-Asset Manager of the Year' Award at the UK Pensions Awards 2008. 

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation
John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, John Hancock celebrates 150 years of serving clients across the United States, while Manulife celebrates its 125th anniversary. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, Manulife Financial Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$514 billion (US$504 billion) as at June 30, 2012.  Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.  The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.

A fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus includes this and other important information about the fund. To obtain a prospectus, call your financial professional, John Hancock Funds at 1-800-225-5291 or visit our Web Site at www.jhfunds.com. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money.

SOURCE John Hancock Funds



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