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Manulife Financial's Toronto headquarters.KEVIN FRAYER/The Canadian Press

A new global equities team at Manulife Asset Management brings two experienced portfolio mangers on board, and fills a gap in the company's equity capabilities at a time when markets are starting to move back into the asset class.

Paul Boyne and Doug McGraw will join Manulife's Boston office after leaving similar roles at Invesco Perpetual in the U.K.

"Three years ago we started to review our capabilities and talent in our organization and where we had gaps. And we had areas where we really needed to address performance and engage in remediation," said Christopher Conkey, chief equity investment officer of Manulife Asset Management, an investment arm of Manulife Financial Inc.

Mr. Conkey came to Manulife in 2010. Step one was the review, then he began making shifts in how some portfolios are structured, and seeking feedback from Manulife offices around the world. "We pride ourselves on having a proprietary, bottom-up research approach and a long-term orientation, and these are the key elements for us," said Mr. Conkey.

Two years later, the team has grown to eight people, and now manages $6.5-billion (U.S.), up from just $3-billion.

The success has even impressed Mr. Conkey. "Demand for U.S. equities is quite high right now, surprisingly," he said.

He hopes to achieve the same success with the global equities business.

And while many of the empty seats have now been filled, there's still one core area that Mr. Conkey particularly wants to improve. "We have capabilities in Asia, but we don't have a strong global emerging markets capabilities, so that's something that will be on our radar screen as we move forward."