Canadian appeal court rules in Manulife's favor in dispute with hedge fund

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(Reuters) - A Canadian appeal court backed Manulife Financial Corp in a dispute with hedge fund Mosten Investment LP, which had claimed the right to put unlimited deposits into life insurance contracts offering high interest rates based on a 1997 policy.

Canada's biggest life insurer said on Wednesday the court ruled in its favor and that a 2018 regulation introduced by Saskatchewan province limiting the amount of money investors could put into universal life insurance policies applies to all such products, including those at issue in the litigation.

Mosten brought the case against Manulife in 2017, claiming the right to put unlimited funds into an old universal life insurance policy, which is attached to a side account that pays out at least 4% a year on excess funds.

A Canadian court in 2019 dismissed previous claims against Manulife by the hedge fund, which then took the fight to the appeal court.

"Mosten is disappointed that the Court chose to set aside the decision of the trial Judge that regulations passed by the Government of Saskatchewan at the behest of Manulife following the trial do not apply to the contract held by Mosten," Ron Miller, an attorney at McDougall Gauley representing Mosten, said by email.

Miller said Mosten is reviewing the decision.

Manulife shares closed up 1.2% at C$27.13, outpacing a 0.5 gain in the benchmark Canadian share index.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Richard Pullin)