Manulife Financial Singapore has appointed RBC Dexia Investor Services to provide fund valuation for its 42 locally domiciled investment-linked portfolios.

Under the terms of the mandate, global custodian and fund administrator RBC Dexia will conduct daily pricing of Manulife Singapore's investment-linked funds. The portfolios serviced are primarily funds of funds and are worth approximately S$1.5 billion ($1.04 billion).

"Outsourcing is an important strategic decision and it is imperative that the right partner is selected to ensure the full benefits are delivered," says Darren Thomson, president and chief executive of Manulife Singapore.

Prior to selecting RBC Dexia, the manager performed fund valuation in-house. Manulife Singapore opted to outsource pricing to increase focus on their core competency, managing funds, instead of back office services.

"Asset gatherers are increasingly looking at outsourcing to help them with operational efficiency, but they need to be sure they have an intelligent partner that can seamlessly align with their needs and ambitions," says Scott McLaren, RBC Dexia's head of sales and distribution for Asia-Pacific. "By listening to Manulife, we were able to ensure we understood these important issues and we look forward to working with them."

Thomson says that the selection of RBC Dexia was based on the provider's capabilities, reputation and performance in a cost and benefit analysis.

According to Manulife Singapore, the company put out a request for proposals in July 2008 and selected RBC Dexia in November. Fund valuation was only fully transferred to the provider this month.

Earlier this year, ING Investment Management Asia-Pacific gave RBC Dexia a mandate to provider administrative and nominee services to the firm's 11 offshore ING Luxembourg funds in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Three-year old RBC Dexia's Asia-Pacific presence currently includes Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. Globally the custodian is in 16 markets and has $2 trillion in client assets under management.

Canada-based Manulife operates in 10 Asia-Pacific markets including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In the first half, funds under management in the region increased to $91.1 billion, up 5.5% year-on-year.