Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Global Headquarters at One York Street in Toronto, Canada
|TSX: SLF, NYSE: SLF, PSE: SLF|
|Founders||Matthew Hamilton Gault|
|Revenue||CA$39.67 billion (2019)|
|CA$3.23 billion (2019)|
|CA$2.71 billion (2019)|
|Total assets||CA$297.20 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||CA$24.50 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
Sun Life Financial, Inc. is a Canadian financial services company; it is primarily known as a life insurance company. It is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world; it is also one of the oldest, with a history spanning back to 1865.
Sun Life Financial has a presence in investment management with over CAD$1 trillion in assets under management operating in a number of countries. Sun Life ranks number 273 on the Forbes Global 2000 list for 2019.
Pre-World War II
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, as The Sun Insurance Company of Montreal in 1865 by Matthew Hamilton Gault (1822–1887), an Irish immigrant who settled in Montreal in 1842. However, operations actually began in 1871. By the end of the 19th century, it had expanded to Central and South America, the United States, the United Kingdom, West Indies, Japan, China, India, North Africa and other international markets. During the next five decades, the company grew and prospered, surviving the difficulties of World War I and the large drain on its finances through policy claims arising from the large number of deaths caused by the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918.
The company's original Dominion Square building in Montreal was built in 1918. Capping a Montreal construction boom that began in the 1920s, the company completed construction of the expansion of its headquarters with its new 26-storey headquarters north tower in 1933. Although the head office of the Royal Bank of Canada on St. James Street was taller by several floors, the Sun Life Building was at the time the largest building in terms of square footage anywhere in the British Empire.
Chartered in 1865, its traditional base business worldwide remains life insurance. However, it now also has significant asset management operations. In 1919, it was the first Canadian company to offer group life insurance. Having begun its first US operations in 1895, the company sold its first group life plan in the U.S. in 1924.
World War II
In World War II, the gold reserves and securities of several European countries were secretly moved to the Sun Life Building for safekeeping. A persistent rumour that the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom were illegally shipped out of the United Kingdom during WWII and stored there was deliberately spread in Montreal to account for increased activity at the building.
Post-World War II
During the post-war period, the company's successful business strategies made it one of Montreal's largest white-collar employers, one of the top corporations in Canada, as well as a global player in the life insurance field. For the first half of the 20th century, the city of Montreal had been the economic hub of Canada, but it was losing ground to Toronto. As early as 1950, Toronto's economic activity surpassed Montreal's with regards to stock market trading and capitalization. The advent, in the 1960s, of political and terrorist movements demanding the independence of Quebec from Canada cast a pallor of uncertainty over the business community.
In 1977, the newly elected sovereigntist Quebec government passed the Charter of the French Language (known as Bill 101), making the use of French language mandatory for medium- and large-scale companies when communicating with French-speaking staff. The law was received negatively by the English-speaking business community, many of whom perceived that the historical rights of the English-speaking minority should be respected. The new government also promised a referendum on Quebec sovereignty, injecting instability into the Montreal business community. On January 6, 1978, Sun Life became the first large company to leave Quebec post-election, announcing that it would move its head office to rented space in Toronto, Ontario. Officially, Sun Life said it was motivated by the political instability and economic uncertainty of Quebec's future, but skeptics said it was the company's unwillingness to comply with the requirements of Bill 101. In a reaction the next day, the province's finance minister Jacques Parizeau called Sun Life "one of the worst exporters of Quebec capital", and threatened to freeze some $400 million CAD in assets.
Bill 101 required more than French communications with French-speaking staff. It made French the official language of the workplace. It also provided that present and prospective employees who could not speak English not be discriminated against because of their inability to speak English.
For the largest employer of English-speaking people in Montreal, this would make things very difficult. Many, if not most, of Sun Life's Head Office employees in 1979 were not fluent in French. Sun Life was quite clear that this was the reason for its move when it made the announcement. The PQ government was quick to label Sun Life "bad corporate citizens" and claimed that if "they had only warned us, we could have worked something out."
The downsizing of Sun Life's Montreal office did not take place overnight. Transfers and moves occurred on a departmental basis and did not commence until several months after the announcement. By 1980, 300 head office employees were located in Toronto.
There were several other key activities in the post-war years. This included a decision by Sun Life to leave many markets, including China and India, because of economic and political changes. In 1962, Sun Life became a mutual company and repurchased its shares for $65 million in total. In 1973, Sun Life opened its American subsidiary's new headquarters in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, located outside Boston.
1980s – 1990s
Sun Life continued to expand its wealth management business with the 1982 acquisition of Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS), the Boston-based investment management and mutual fund company. It entered the mutual fund business in Canada by forming Spectrum Mutual Fund Services in 1987 (subsequently sold to CI Financial) and a decade later, acquired McLean Budden, a Canadian investment management firm (subsequently folded into MFS). International expansion continued in the 1990s. In 1995, Sun Life entered the Indonesia market through local company PT Asuransi Modern Sun Life, now called PT Sun Life Financial Indonesia and opened a Representative Office in Beijing in preparation to enter China. A year later, Sun Life opened a services centre in Waterford, Ireland, to provide technology and business processing support for Sun Life business units.
In 1999, Sun Life officially returned to India and China when it established two joint ventures – Birla Sun Life in India with local partner Aditya Birla Group, and Sun Life Everbright in China with partner China Everbright Group. Over the next decade, both operations grew rapidly – by September 2008, there were 132,460 Birla Sun Life advisors working in 600 branches across India while Sun Life Everbright opened its sixth branch in Guangzhou, bringing its presence to 18 cities in China.
In early 1998, Sun Life announced its intention to demutualize. In March 2000, its initial public offering (IPO) started the trading of Sun Life Financial Inc. shares on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges.
In 2002, Sun Life combined its operations with Clarica Life Insurance of Waterloo, Ontario. Founded in 1870 as Mutual Life of Canada, Clarica was known as The Mutual Group before it went public in 1999. The former head office for Mutual Life Assurance Company at 227 King Street South in Waterloo became the home to Sun Life's Canadian operations, while a regional office and Sun Life's corporate headquarters remained in Toronto. The company also maintains regional offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary. After it integrated operations, the company used the Clarica brand name for certain products and activities until 2007.
In 2005, Sun Life opened a service centre in Gurgaon, India to provide business processing and technology support for Sun Life Financial business units around the world. That same year, Sun Life purchased CMG Asia and CommServe Financial, the Hong Kong insurance and pension operations of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, tripling its customer base and adding group insurance and pensions to its business lines.
In 2007, Sun Life purchased the U.S. employee benefits business of Genworth Financial, placing itself in the top 10 in the U.S. group benefits market.
In 2008, Sun Life sold its 37% interest in CI Financial Income Fund to Scotiabank. Sun Life had originally acquired a significant ownership interest in the firm by selling its Canadian mutual fund subsidiaries to CI Financial in 2002.
In 2013, Sun Life acquired 49% Aviva PLC's Malaysian insurance joint venture with lender CIMB Group. Sun Life acquired the business along with Malaysian state investor Khazanah Nasional, which also purchased 49%. They each paid approximately CDN$300 million. CIMB retains 2% interest.
In 2015, Sun Life acquired the Employee Benefits business of Assurant Inc. The transaction closed in March 2016, creating the sixth-largest group benefits business in the U.S.
In 2017, the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association announced that Sun Life will become their jersey sponsor beginning with the 2017–18 NBA season. This deal continues through the 2019/2020 season.
In June 2019, Sun Life re-branded its Sun Life Investment Management unit to SLC Management and fully merged its fixed income businesses, Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc. and Prime Advisors, Inc. with Sun Life Capital Management (U.S.)
In addition, in July 2019, SLC's real estate division was merged under the name BentallGreenOak Real Estate.
In December 2020, Dean Connor announced his intent to retire as President and CEO in August 2021. He will be replaced by Kevin Strain, who is the current Chief Financial Officer at Sun Life.
Sun Life in North America
Sun Life contributes to the local economy as one of the top 5 major employers in the region, with approximately 3,500 employees – more than 40% of Sun Life's employee base in Canada.
Sun Life is an Observing Organization in the Regional Carbon Initiative (run by the Sustainable Waterloo Region) and a member of TravelWise, a joint program of Sustainable Waterloo Region and the Region of Waterloo.
Sun Life roots in Canada go back over 150 years and is estimated that the company provides financial products and advice to 1 in 5 Canadians.
In 2012, Sun Life celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Canadian head office building, located on King Street, right on the border of the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo.
Sun Life Financial U.S. has the sixth-largest group benefits business in the United States and serves more than 60,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces.
Sun Life's portfolio of insurance products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental, vision, voluntary and medical stop-loss.
In 2018, Sun Life Financial U.S. was named one of the Top Places to Work in Massachusetts for 2018 by The Boston Globe.
Sun Life Asset Management
Sun Life's asset management operation includes subsidiaries:
- MFS Investment Management, which serves individual and institutional investors around the world;
- SLC Management, which provides investment solutions[buzzword] for defined benefit pension plans, insurance companies and other institutional investors globally. SLC Management has two distinct units: a fixed-income pillar operating under the SLC Management banner (including Sun Life affiliates Prime Advisors, Ryan Labs Asset Management and Sun Life Institutional Investments); and a real estate division named Bentall GreenOak.
- In December 2019, Sun Life announced an intention to acquire a majority stake in InfraRed Capital Partners, that will see InfraRed form part of SLC Management 
- In October 2020, Sun Life announced an intent to acquire a 51% stake in alternative credit investment manager Crescent Capital LP. Crescent will be part of SLC Management.
As of March 31, 2019, SLC Management's collective operations have assets under management of C$212 billion (US$159 billion).
SLC Management, formerly Sun Life Investment Management (SLIM), began in 2014 when Sun Life created Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc., to offer a range of institutional alternative asset class funds to investors in Canada. Under the SLIM branding, in 2015, Sun Life acquired Bentall Kennedy Group in North America, and Prime Advisors, Inc., and Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc. in the United States.
In June 2019, Sun Life re-branded SLIM to SLC Management and fully merged its fixed income businesses, Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc. and Prime Advisors, Inc. with Sun Life Capital Management (U.S.) In addition, in July 2019, SLC's real estate division was merged under the name BentallGreenOak Real Estate.
Sun Life in Asia
In 1891, the company persuaded businessman Ira Thayer to go to Asia to start an insurance business. Thayer set up a business in China in 1892 that went on to prosper for the next 54 years.
Sun Life grew to become the biggest foreign insurer in China until the Second World War when it shut down operations. The company returned to China in 1995 via a joint venture.
In 1995, Sun Life joined with the China Everbright Group to form Sun Life Everbright.
In 2002, Sun Life Everbright was granted approval to sell life insurance in Tianjin, China, becoming the first foreign life insurance joint venture to operate in that city and its neighbouring counties.
In 2011, Sun Life Everbright received regulatory approval in China to establish Sun Life Everbright Insurance Asset Management Company, only the 12th such license issued in China.
Birla Sun Life Asset Management, now known as the Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (ABSLAMC), is an investment managing company registered under the Securities and Exchange Board of India. It is a joint venture between Sun Life and the Aditya Birla Group of India.
Established in 1994, BSLAMC has been a joint venture between the Aditya Birla Group and Sun Life since 1999.
With more than $34 billion U.S. in assets under management as of 2017, Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company is one of the largest asset managers in India.
Sun Life entered the Philippines in 1895, and established its Cebu operations in the 1960s. As of 2019, Sun Life is the number one provider of insurance products to Filipinos. Sun Life has been in Asia since the early 1890s.
In 1895, Sun Life began its operations in the Philippines through the representation of the H.J. Andrews and Co., a British trading firm. Throughout the Philippine Revolution, Sun Life Philippines experienced continuous growth
In 2011, Sun Life signed a joint venture agreement with the Yuchengco Group of companies for the creation of Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. marking Sun Life's entry into the bancassurance business.
New Global Headquarters - One York
The building was developed by Menkes Developments Ltd, and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), which is also a tenant of the building.
This location along the Gardiner Expressway is a prominent position on the Toronto skyline,
Before the Corporate Office moved to its new Global HQ at One York Street, the Sun Life Centre on King Street served as its headquarters. Previously, Sun Life Building in Montreal was the head office. The Sun Life Building in Montreal is a historic 122 m (400 ft), 24 storey office building at 1155 Metcalfe Street on Dorchester Square in downtown Montreal.
Toronto Raptors NBA Jersey Sponsorship (2017 - Present)
Sun Life has been the Raptors jersey sponsor since the 2017–18 NBA Season. This agreement was extended into the 2018/19 & 2019/20 seasons.
It is the first jersey patch partnership in the team's history with the Sun Life patch appearing on the front left shoulder of Raptors game jerseys.
Jersey sponsorships were introduced league-wide as part of a three-year NBA pilot program.
Miami Dolphins NFL Stadium Sponsorship (2010 - 2016)
Under the five-year contract the stadium was named Sun Life Stadium. The naming rights expired in January 2016.
- William D. Anderson, FCPA, FCA (Chairman)
- Dean A. Connor (President & CEO)
- Martin J. G. Glynn (Corporate Director)
- M. Marianne Harris (Corporate Director)
- Sara Grootwassink Lewis, CPA, CFA (Corporate Director)
- James M. Peck (Corporate Director)
- Stephanie L. Coyles (Corporate Director)
- Scott F. Powers (Corporate Director)
- Hugh D. Segal, OC, OONT, CD (Principal of Massey College, University of Toronto)
- Ashok K. Gupta (Corporate Director)
- Barbara G. Stymiest, FCPA, FCA (Corporate Director)
- Sun Life reaches Q1'19 milestone of $1 trillion Assets Under Management. Sun Life. pp. https://www.sunlife.com/en/investors/financial-news/announcement/sun-life-reaches-q119-milestone-of-1-trillion-assets-under-management/123259/.
- Alfred Draper (1979). Operation Fish: The Race to Save Europe's Wealth, 1939–1945. Cassell. pp. 255–257. ISBN 978-0-304-30068-6.
- "La Financière Sun Life veut repartir à zéro avec le Québec".
- "Sun Life Financial now remembers: Yes, we left Quebec in 1978 | Montreal Gazette". 2012-02-09.
- "BAnQ numérique".
- Rowland Mans (1978). Canada's Constitutional Crisis: Separatism and Subversion. Institute for the Study of Conflict.
- Mike Filey (1 October 1997). Toronto Sketches 5: The Way We Were. Dundurn. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-1-4597-1330-7.
- Reporters: Karen Birchard, Richard Inwood (January 6, 1978). "CBC reports on Sun Life leaving Montreal in 1978". The World At Six. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- "Il y a 40 ans : Le déménagement surprise de la Sun Life".
- "CBC News – CI Funds to acquire mutual fund businesses of Spectrum, Clarica". 22 May 2002. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
- "Sun Life completes BentallGreenOaks acquisition".
- "Sun Life CEO Dean Connor to retire next year". financialpost. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
- "Waterloo Top".
- "Canadian head office".
- "Sun Life Financial U.S. – Group Benefits key facts and figures" (PDF).
- "Greater Boston Top Employers".
- "Sun Life combines asset management businesses under SLC Management".
- "Sun Life completes acquisition of InfraRed Capital Partners". Insurance Portal (in French). Retrieved 2020-12-04.
- News, Bloomberg (2020-10-22). "Sun Life buys majority stake in Attanasio's Crescent Capital - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
- "Sun Life Announces Establishment of SLC Management".
- "Sun Life sees Asia profit doubling to almost $1 billion, eyes bigger stake in China venture". 2018-06-27.
- Libatique, Roxanne. "Sun Life expands presence in Asia with Singapore branch". www.insurancebusinessmag.com. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
- "Sun Life: 150 years of making life brighter". 2015-04-02.
- "Our History".
- "Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management".
- Lefton, Terry (January 18, 2010). "Dolphins sell stadium naming rights to Sun Life". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- "Board of Directors".