John Hancock Advisers announced Friday the launch of its 13th closed-end fund, a fund that aims to provide a high level of after-tax return from dividend income and capital appreciation.

The John Hancock Tax-Advantaged Dividend Income Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in common and preferred stock shares that it believes are eligible to pay dividends qualifying for the new lower U.S. federal income taxation rates. Specifically, the fund will focus on utilities and financial services stocks given the favorable tax legislation, current valuations, dividend yields and potential for merger and acquisition activity.

"With certain dividend income now eligible to be taxed at a much lower rate, interest in dividend paying stocks is strong," said Maureen Ford Goldfarb, chairman, president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Advisers. "The benefits of dividend paying stocks and an experienced and proven investment management team have made the launch of John Hancock Tax-Advantaged Dividend Income Fund the company’s biggest success."

Greg Phelps, senior vice president and financial services expert , and Jim Schmidt, executive vice president and leader of the utilities and preferred securities team will serve as lead managers for the fund. Each has 20 years of experience in their respective fields.

Shares of the closed-end fund began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last Thursday.

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