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

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 give individual investors access 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.

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