Boston-based John Hancock Funds, a unit of Canada's Manulife Financial, is transferring 29 internally managed mutual funds to its sister company, Sovereign Asset Management, according to the Boston Business Journal.

The move, company officials said, recognizes the differences between Hancock, which is a sales and marketing unit, and the investment managers at Sovereign.

To distribute the funds, 21 new wholesalers have been hired and 10 more sales positions must be filled. The wholesaler group will have 60 members at the end of the process.

Hancock decided to transfer seven funds last month to allow individual investors to the top performing products Hancock has to offer, officials said.

The rest of the company's funds will be transferred in January to Sovereign, a company created to manage the Sovereign Investors Fund.

Hancock's retail unit has been struggling since the takeover by Manulife in April 2004. While its competition has been steadily growing their assets under management this year, Hancock's would have decreased by 6% if it weren't for gains at the recently acquired, $4.1 billion John Hancock Classic Value Fund. John Hancock adopted that fund in 2002 and officials said it is close to a deal that would deliver 10 more funds from Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co., another Boston fund manager.

Industry experts are optimistic about Hancock's outsourcing approach.

"It's not a great fund shop overall, but they have had success with sub-advisors," said John Coumarianos, an analyst with Morningstar in Chicago. "My view is that any attempts to improve the company's retail group are warranted."

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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