Manulife (International) is losing its ranking as Hong Kong's second-largest pension provider, forcing it to offer more incentives to employers yet to sign up with a Mandatory Provident Fund provider. The insurer yesterday said it had signed up 120,000 employees in its MPF plans, putting it behind market leader HSBC and its subsidiary Hang Seng Bank, which together have signed up 600,000 employees to their MPF plans. Manulife also trails the alliance of American International Assurance and Jardine Fleming (AIA-JF), which has signed up 200,000 employees. Manulife is the second-largest provider of existing pension schemes, set up under the Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance (Orso). It covers 80,000 employees. The largest provider under Orso is HSBC. Manulife assistant vice-president Alan Ng denied the insurer had lost the game. 'There are 74 per cent of employers who have not yet signed up with an MPF provider. The next six weeks will be the time for these employers to make their decision,' Mr Ng said. As at the end of last month, only 79,000 employers, representing 26 per cent of the workforce obliged to join a pension plan before the December 1 deadline, had done so. Among new incentives on offer from Manulife are a 2.25 per cent worker credit bonus, which will effectively offset the 2.25 per cent administration fee for the first year. This is in addition to a HK$500 cash bonus employers will receive for each employee they sign up to one of Manulife's MPF plans. But the offer applies only to those who sign up before November 3. Manulife has set up a hotline for employers. It guarantees one of the company's 2,000 agents will pay a visit within 24 hours of a call being made to the hotline. On Monday, AIA-JF announced it was cutting the administration fee on its MPF plans for the first three years to 1.85 per cent from 2 per cent. This would be in addition to a HK$400 cash bonus. About 5,000 AIA-JF consultants will also be on call round the clock. In a separate announcement, Invesco, a United States-based fund management company, said it had signed up 95,000 employees from 120 companies. Most of the companies have more than 300 staff. Its biggest clients include the Hospital Authority, with 46,000 employees and the Dental Association's 10,000 members. Others include IBM and Lotus Software, Ocean Park, Wing On Group, Hong Kong Baptist University, and Marks & Spencer. Invesco Asian director and head of marketing Edith Ngan said it would not cut fees in a last-ditch attempt to lure those employers who leave it until the deadline to sign up. She said it was signing up big corporate clients for whom quality was more important than pricing.