John Hancock Hedged Equity & Income Fund Renews Share Repurchase Plan and Changes Its Fiscal Year End

  John Hancock Hedged Equity & Income Fund Renews Share Repurchase Plan and
                         Changes Its Fiscal Year End

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Dec. 12, 2012

BOSTON, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Hedged Equity & Income Fund
(NYSE: HEQ) (the "Fund"), a closed-end fund managed by John Hancock Advisers,
LLC, announced today that its Board of Trustees approved the renewal of the
Fund's share repurchase plan and voted to change the Fund's fiscal year end.

Adoption of Share Repurchase Plan

In connection with its ongoing evaluation of options to enhance shareholder
value and potentially decrease the discount between the market price and the
net asset value ("NAV") of the Fund's common shares, the Board of Trustees has
renewed the Fund's share repurchase plan that is set to expire on December 31,
2012. As renewed, the Fund may purchase in the open market, between January 1,
2013 and December 31, 2013, up to an additional 10% of its outstanding common
shares (based on common shares outstanding as of December 31, 2012).

The share repurchase plan seeks to enhance shareholder value and to
potentially narrow the Fund's discount to NAV. The plan allows the Fund to
acquire its own shares in the open market at a discount to NAV, which is
intended to increase the NAV per share. It could also have the benefit of
providing additional liquidity in the trading of common shares.

The Fund has been repurchasing shares in 2012 to seek to enhance shareholder
value, and year-to-date through November 30, 2012 the Fund has repurchased
808,035 shares, or 5.53% of total outstanding shares. During this period, the
share repurchases have contributed to the Fund's NAV by approximately $0.11
per share.

There is no assurance that the Fund will purchase shares at any specific
discount levels or in any specific amounts. The Fund's repurchase activity
will be disclosed in its shareholder report for the relevant fiscal period.
There is no assurance that the market price of the Fund's shares, either
absolutely or relative to NAV, will increase as a result of any share
repurchases, or that the plan will enhance shareholder value over the
long-term.

Change of Fiscal Year End Date

Additionally, the Fund announced today that its Board of Trustees approved a
change to the Fund's fiscal year-end from October 31 to December 31. The Fund
intends to operate in a two month stub period from November 1, 2012 to
December 31, 2012 and then intends to begin a new fiscal year on January 1,
2013.

Statements in this press release that are not historical facts are
forward-looking statements as defined by the United States securities laws.
You should exercise caution in interpreting and relying on forward-looking
statements because they are subject to uncertainties and other factors which
are, in some cases, beyond the Fund's control and could cause actual results
to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

An investor should consider a Fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and
expenses carefully before investing.

About John Hancock Funds

The Boston-based mutual fund business unit of John Hancock Financial, John
Hancock Funds, manages more than $77.9 billion in open-end funds, closed-end
funds, private accounts, retirement plans and related party assets for
individual and institutional investors at September 30, 2012.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading
Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22
countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada
and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States,
Manulife Financial Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial
protection products and wealth management services through its extensive
network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management
by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$515 billion (US$523
billion) at September 30, 2012.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and
under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at
www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the
largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range
of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed
products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college
savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about
John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com.

SOURCE John Hancock Funds

Website: http://www.johnhancock.com
Contact: Media Contact: Jay Aronowitz, +1-617-663-2702; Investor Contact:
+1-800-843-0090
 
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