NU Online News Service, Dec. 2, 1:42 p.m. – John Hancock Funds, a unit of John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, is starting the John Hancock Preferred Income Fund II, a closed-end fund that trades on the New York Stock Exchange and invests in preferred securities.

Managers will try to maximize current income by investing up to 20% of the assets in low-rated, high-yield securities, and they have noted that they can invest more than 25% of the assets in utility company securities.

Hancock introduced the fund by holding a public offering that began Oct. 29 and ended Nov. 25. The offering raised $475 million.

UBS Warburg, a unit of UBS A.G., Zurich, is the lead manager, and Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York, is the co-lead manager.