Manulife has opened a new Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) location in Singapore, its first such facility in Asia and the third after labs in Boston and Toronto.
The LOFT is a global exploration and incubation capability to build Manulife's competitive advantages within the financial services industry – one ripe for disruption. The LOFT provides a platform for employees to collaborate and devise new technological solutions for the company's wealth, asset management, and insurance customers.
"We are using emerging technologies and platforms such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to build competitive advantages," said Mr Greg Framke, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Manulife.
"Now that our Singapore LOFT has launched, our global innovation system can continue to explore new markets and build solutions that will benefit our customers around the world."
In the last six months, the LOFT announced collaborations with ConsenSys and BlockApps to apply blockchain technologies to enhance the on-boarding of new wealth management clients. They have also announced partnerships with Nervana Systems and indico data solutions to develop artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies that enhance investment research.
Innovative initiatives, such as the LOFT, RED Lab and the creation of the new roles of Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Innovation Officer are part of Manulife's strategy of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do, and provide solutions to improve the customer experience, the company said in a statement.
"Our goal is to become the most customer-centric organisation in our industry," said Mr Roy Gori, President and CEO of Manulife Asia. "Through the LOFT, we encourage experimentation, incubation and collaboration to find the answers we need to best serve our customers."
"Consumers in Asia are looking for tools and services to make their lives easier. There are tremendous rewards on offer for those businesses that take up the challenge. That's why we chose to build a LOFT in Asia and Singapore, with its thriving start-up culture, is the perfect home for that investment," said Mr Gori.