Manulife Financial Corporation has announced (on February 19):
the applicable dividend rates for its Noncumulative Rate Reset Class 1 Shares Series 19 (the “Series 19 Preferred Shares”) (TSX: MFC.PR.N) and Noncumulative Floating Rate Class 1 Shares Series 20 (the “Series 20 Preferred Shares”).
With respect to any Series 19 Preferred Shares that remain outstanding after March 19, 2020, holders thereof will be entitled to receive fixed rate noncumulative preferential cash dividends on a quarterly basis, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of Manulife and subject to the provisions of the Insurance Companies Act (Canada). The dividend rate for the fiveyear period commencing on March 20, 2020, and ending on March 19, 2025, will be 3.6750% per annum or $0.229688 per share per quarter, being equal to the sum of the fiveyear Government of Canada bond yield as at February 19, 2020, plus 2.30%, as determined in accordance with the terms of the Series 19 Preferred Shares.
With respect to any Series 20 Preferred Shares that may be issued on March 19, 2020 in connection with the conversion of the Series 19 Preferred Shares into the Series 20 Preferred Shares, holders thereof will be entitled to receive floating rate noncumulative preferential cash dividends on a quarterly basis, calculated on the basis of actual number of days elapsed in each quarterly floating rate period divided by 365, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of Manulife and subject to the provisions of the Insurance Companies Act (Canada). The dividend rate for the threemonth period commencing on March 20, 2020, and ending on June 19, 2020, will be 0.99259% (3.9380% on an annualized basis) or $0.248148 per share, being equal to the sum of the threemonth Government of Canada Treasury bill yield as at February 19, 2020, plus 2.30%, as determined in accordance with the terms of the Series 20 Preferred Shares.
Beneficial owners of Series 19 Preferred Shares who wish to exercise their right of conversion should instruct their broker or other nominee to exercise such right before 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on March 4, 2020. The news release announcing such conversion right was issued on February 3, 2020 and can be viewed on SEDAR or Manulife’s website. Conversion inquiries should be directed to Manulife’s Registrar and Transfer Agent, AST Trust Company (Canada), at 1‑800‑783‑9495.
The Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) has conditionally approved the listing of the Series 20 Preferred Shares effective upon conversion. Listing of the Series 20 Preferred Shares is subject to Manulife fulfilling all the listing requirements of the TSX and, upon approval, the Series 20 Preferred Shares will be listed on the TSX under the trading symbol “MFC.PR.S”.
MFC.PR.N is a FixedReset, 3.80%+230, that commenced trading 2014123 after being announced 20141126. The company provided notice of extension 202023. It is tracked by HIMIPref™ and is assigned to the FixedReset – Insurance nonNVCC subindex.
The most logical way to analyze the question of whether or not to convert is through the theory of Preferred Pairs, for which a calculator is available. Briefly, a Strong Pair is defined as a pair of securities that can be interconverted in the future (e.g., MFC.PR.N and the FloatingReset that will exist if enough holders convert). Since they will be interconvertible on this future date, it may be assumed that they will be priced identically on this date (if they aren’t then holders will simply convert en masse to the higherpriced issue). And since they will be priced identically on a given date in the future, any current difference in price must be offset by expectations of an equal and opposite value of dividends to be received in the interim. And since the dividend rate on one element of the pair is both fixed and known, the implied average rate of the other, floating rate, instrument can be determined. Finally, we say, we may compare these average rates and take a view regarding the actual future course of that rate relative to the implied rate, which will provide us with guidance on which element of the pair is likely to outperform the other until the next interconversion date, at which time the process will be repeated.
We can show the breakeven rates for each FixedReset / FloatingReset Strong Pair graphically by plotting the implied average 3month bill rate against the next Exchange Date (which is the date to which the average will be calculated). Inspection of the graph and the overall average breakeven rates for extant pairs will provide a guide for estimating the breakeven rate for the pair now under consideration assuming, of course, that enough conversions occur so that the pair is in fact created.
Click for Big
The market has little enthusiasm for floating rate product; the implied rates until the next interconversion are generally well below the current 3month bill rate as the averages for investmentgrade and junk issues are at +0.84% and +1.71% (ignoring the outlier AIM.PR.A / AIM.PR.B, which Exchanges 2020331), respectively. Whatever might be the result of the next few Bank of Canada overnight rate decisions, I suggest that it is unlikely that the average rate over the next five years will be lower than current – but if you disagree, of course, you may interpret the data any way you like.
The breakeven rate for the junk pairs has been relatively high recently; I confess I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
Since credit quality of each element of the pair is equal to the other element, it should not make any difference whether the pair examined is investmentgrade or junk, although we might expect greater variation of implied rates between junk issues on grounds of lower liquidity, and this is just what we see.
If we plug in the current bid price of the MFC.PR.N FixedReset, we may construct the following table showing consistent prices for its soonmaybeissued FloatingReset counterpart given a variety of Implied Breakeven yields consistent with issues currently trading:
Estimate of FloatingReset (received in exchange for MFC.PR.N) Trading Price In Current Conditions 

Assumed FloatingReset Price if Implied Bill is equal to 
FixedReset 
Bid Price 
Spread 
1.50% 
1.00% 
0.50% 
MFC.PR.N 
17.30 
230bp 
17.42 
16.93 
16.43 
Based on current market conditions, I suggest that the FloatingResets that will result from conversion are likely to trade below the price of their FixedReset counterparts, MFC.PR.N. Therefore, it seems likely that I will recommend that holders of MFC.PR.N continue to hold the issue and not to convert, but I will wait until it’s closer to the March 4 notification deadline before making a final pronouncement. I will note that once the conversion period has passed it may be a good trade to swap one issue for the other in the market once both elements of each pair are trading and you can – hopefully – do it with a reasonably good takeout in price, rather than doing it through the company on a 1:1 basis. But that, of course, will depend on the prices at that time and your forecast for the path of policy rates over the next five years. There are no guarantees – my recommendation is based on the assumption that current market conditions with respect to the pairs will continue until the FloatingResets commence trading and that the relative pricing of the two new pairs will reflect these conditions.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 at 1:18 am and is filed under Issue Comments. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
MFC.PR.N To Reset At 3.675%
Manulife Financial Corporation has announced (on February 19):
MFC.PR.N is a FixedReset, 3.80%+230, that commenced trading 2014123 after being announced 20141126. The company provided notice of extension 202023. It is tracked by HIMIPref™ and is assigned to the FixedReset – Insurance nonNVCC subindex.
The most logical way to analyze the question of whether or not to convert is through the theory of Preferred Pairs, for which a calculator is available. Briefly, a Strong Pair is defined as a pair of securities that can be interconverted in the future (e.g., MFC.PR.N and the FloatingReset that will exist if enough holders convert). Since they will be interconvertible on this future date, it may be assumed that they will be priced identically on this date (if they aren’t then holders will simply convert en masse to the higherpriced issue). And since they will be priced identically on a given date in the future, any current difference in price must be offset by expectations of an equal and opposite value of dividends to be received in the interim. And since the dividend rate on one element of the pair is both fixed and known, the implied average rate of the other, floating rate, instrument can be determined. Finally, we say, we may compare these average rates and take a view regarding the actual future course of that rate relative to the implied rate, which will provide us with guidance on which element of the pair is likely to outperform the other until the next interconversion date, at which time the process will be repeated.
We can show the breakeven rates for each FixedReset / FloatingReset Strong Pair graphically by plotting the implied average 3month bill rate against the next Exchange Date (which is the date to which the average will be calculated). Inspection of the graph and the overall average breakeven rates for extant pairs will provide a guide for estimating the breakeven rate for the pair now under consideration assuming, of course, that enough conversions occur so that the pair is in fact created.
Click for Big
The market has little enthusiasm for floating rate product; the implied rates until the next interconversion are generally well below the current 3month bill rate as the averages for investmentgrade and junk issues are at +0.84% and +1.71% (ignoring the outlier AIM.PR.A / AIM.PR.B, which Exchanges 2020331), respectively. Whatever might be the result of the next few Bank of Canada overnight rate decisions, I suggest that it is unlikely that the average rate over the next five years will be lower than current – but if you disagree, of course, you may interpret the data any way you like.
The breakeven rate for the junk pairs has been relatively high recently; I confess I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
Since credit quality of each element of the pair is equal to the other element, it should not make any difference whether the pair examined is investmentgrade or junk, although we might expect greater variation of implied rates between junk issues on grounds of lower liquidity, and this is just what we see.
If we plug in the current bid price of the MFC.PR.N FixedReset, we may construct the following table showing consistent prices for its soonmaybeissued FloatingReset counterpart given a variety of Implied Breakeven yields consistent with issues currently trading:
Price if Implied Bill
is equal to
Based on current market conditions, I suggest that the FloatingResets that will result from conversion are likely to trade below the price of their FixedReset counterparts, MFC.PR.N. Therefore, it seems likely that I will recommend that holders of MFC.PR.N continue to hold the issue and not to convert, but I will wait until it’s closer to the March 4 notification deadline before making a final pronouncement. I will note that once the conversion period has passed it may be a good trade to swap one issue for the other in the market once both elements of each pair are trading and you can – hopefully – do it with a reasonably good takeout in price, rather than doing it through the company on a 1:1 basis. But that, of course, will depend on the prices at that time and your forecast for the path of policy rates over the next five years. There are no guarantees – my recommendation is based on the assumption that current market conditions with respect to the pairs will continue until the FloatingResets commence trading and that the relative pricing of the two new pairs will reflect these conditions.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 at 1:18 am and is filed under Issue Comments. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.