Manulife Mutual Funds Tuesday announced plans for fund mergers to occur later this year in an effort to create a stronger fund line-up and reduce administrative costs.

Plans call for mergers of 10 funds on October 5, followed by mergers of seven more funds on November 23.

“The proposed fund mergers are the result of ongoing reviews of our fund lineup. Through this analysis, we believe it’s in the best interest of securityholders of certain funds that we initiate these merger plans,” said Jeff Ray, assistant vice president, mutual funds and structured products, in a release.

Manulife says securityholders are expected to benefit by having operating costs and expenses spread across a greater pool of assets. potentially reducing the expenses of continuing funds in the future. The management fees for the continuing funds are equal to, or in most cases, lower than those of the terminating funds.

In addition Manulife said that a group of its retail mutual funds presently sub-advised by Portland Investment Counsel Inc. will soon be advised by portfolio management teams from Manulife Asset Management, the asset management division of parent company Manulife Financial. The funds include: Manulife Advantage Fund, Manulife Advantage Fund II, Manulife Advantage II Class, Manulife Global Advantage Fund, Manulife American Advantage Fund, Manulife Canadian Focused Fund and Manulife Canadian Focused Class.

The funds will be managed by Manulife Asset Management portfolio manager Duncan Anderson along with Alan Wicks, with the exception of Manulife American Advantage Fund, which will be managed by Sandy Sanders and Walter McCormick, also of Manulife Asset Management.

The change will also affect three closed-end funds: Copernican International Financial Split Corp., Copernican World Banks Split Inc. and Copernican World Financial Infrastructure Trust. Lisa Welch and Susan Curry of Manulife Asset Management will serve as portfolio managers.

The effective date of the transfer of portfolio management responsibilities is July 3.

Portland, of Burlington, Ontario, had provided this group of open and closed-end funds with portfolio management services since Sept. 25, 2009.

“Our affiliation with Portland has been a significant and productive one for Manulife Mutual Funds over the past two and a half years, and we thank the organization for their many contributions to the management of several funds on our platform,” said Paul Lorentz, president of Manulife Investments. “Working together with Portland and Manulife Asset Management, we will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition.”

Details on the proposed fund mergers follow can be found here.