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Manulife Financial Corp. says it earned record profits last year as fourth-quarter net income increased 17% to $2.08 billion.

The Toronto-based insurer and financial services company says its earnings attributable to shareholders reached $7.1 billion in 2021, up 21% from $5.87 billion in 2020, driven by its insurance business.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Manulife earned $1.03 per diluted share, up from 89 cents per share or $1.78 billion a year earlier.

Core earnings were $1.71 billion or 84 cents per share, two cents higher than forecast by analysts, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. They compared with $1.47 billion or 74 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Core full-year earnings grew to $6.54 billion or $3.25 per share, from $5.52 billion or $2.75 per share in the prior year.

New business increased to $555 million in the quarter and to $2.24 billion for the year, with Asia contributing $391 million and $1.67 billion respectively.

“Our ability to adapt and serve clients across the globe who are navigating a very uncertain environment continues to drive our operating results,” stated CEO Roy Gori

Manulife said its assets under management and administration, in global wealth and asset management, grew by more than $100 billion last year.

The insurer’s AUM was $856 billion as of Dec. 31, up from $754 billion a year earlier.