A number of ambitious plans are beginning to take shape at John Hancock Mutual Funds in Boston. The mutual fund group, which advises open- and closed-end funds, private accounts and retirement plans, and also sponsors the Freedom 529 plan, is an affiliate of John Hancock Financial Services. John Hancock Financial became a full-fledged subsidiary of Canada's Manulife Financial Corp. in April 2004.

John Hancock has just launched five multi-managed fund-of-fund lifestyle portfolios that utilize a "target risk" concept instead of specific target dates, and transitioned $15 billion into the funds from Hancock's similarly modeled retirement plan and annuity account offerings. The lifestyle funds range from an aggressive portfolio that allocates 100% into underlying equity funds, to a conservative one that invests 80% of assets in fixed-income funds.

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