Raise high the roof beam, carpenters

Let’s get this straight. Donald Guloien didn’t want to raise equity at $19.60, but $19 is OK. He didn’t want to do it in August, but November is fine even though the stock market is about the same level it was last summer. Shareholders who already took a hit when he cut dividends in half are being asked to suffer another wallop as he dilutes their holdings.

Guloien explains his activities by saying he is building fortress capital. If Donald Guloien were King Arthur, he would never have had time to meet with the Knights of the Round Table, he’d be too busy supervising more battlements.

Let’s face it. The foe he’s fighting, variable annuities, is minuscule. Of Manulife’s 22 million global clients, only 250,000 bought variable annuities, the cause of all this fuss. Why is everyone else paying so dearly for the difficulties involving 1 per cent of the customer base?

When I asked former CEO Dominic D’Alessandro what advice he had for his successor before Guloien took over in May, D’Alessandro said: “I’ve worked with Don for a long time. I think he’s got to become a little tougher. When you’re in these jobs, you can’t please everybody all the time.”

Well, Brave Sir Donald has certainly taken that advice to heart.

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