Canada’s Sun Life Financial signs C$530 million annuity deal

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX/NYSE: SLF) today announced a groundbreaking combined annuity buy-in transaction with two Canadian pension plan sponsors to transfer investment, longevity and inflation risk to Sun Life. The annuity transaction is valued at approximately $530 million, making it the largest group annuity in Canadian history.

Many Canadian defined benefit pension plans provide pensions that increase with inflation and employers are looking for solutions to reduce risk. To help solve this problem, Sun Life created a new combined annuity solution providing inflation-linked annuities at an affordable cost.

Sun Life developed the idea for the new solution after receiving inquiries from two unrelated inflation-linked pension plans. Sun Life combined the annuity purchases for the two plans, with the pricing conditional on both purchases occurring at the same time. This generated significant cost savings for the clients that would not have been available for separate annuity purchases because Sun Life was able to pool the inflation risk for both plans and create a more efficient asset strategy. A combined annuity purchase is appropriate for plans with indexing formulas that are related to inflation but are different enough to be complementary. The transaction was completed in December 2015.

“We are thrilled to be transforming the annuity market, creating an innovative solution to help inflation-linked pension plans reduce risk,” said Brent Simmons, Senior Managing Director, Defined Benefit Solutions, Sun Life Financial. “This transaction is in response to market demand for affordable solutions for inflation-linked plans. Plan sponsors are looking for creative ways to de-risk and this is just one example of how we can help them meet their objectives and focus on their core business.”

This transaction highlights the growing demand for de-risking solutions and how the market is evolving to meet that demand. With estimated volumes of $7.5 billion, 2015 was the largest Canadian pension risk transfer market on record, three times larger than 2014.

An annuity buy-in is an investment that a pension plan makes to transfer investment, longevity and inflation risk to an insurance company, without any impact on plan members’ pensions. It can increase benefit security by allowing the pension plan to better match its assets with the pension promises it has made. In exchange for a lump sum premium, Sun Life makes a monthly payment to the pension plan equal to the pension payments for the covered group, and the plan continues to pay each member directly.

About Defined Benefit Solutions
Sun Life’s Defined Benefit Solutions group is a team of experienced pension and investment professionals, whose mandate is to help Canadian companies manage the risks of their defined benefit pension plans. We work closely with plan sponsors, consultants and other industry experts to deliver innovative, customized solutions, including annuity buy-outs, annuity buy-ins, longevity insurance and liability driven investments, which address the specific challenges of each plan sponsor. For more information please

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India,China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2015 the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $846 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada

For further information:

Media Relations Contact:
Gannon Loftus
Manager, Media & PR
Corporate Communications
T. 416-979-6345

Investor Relations Contact:
Greg Dilworth
Investor Relations
T. 416-979-6230

Sun Life Financial named one of the 2016 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations

TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2016 /CNW/ – For the seventh consecutive year, Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) (“Sun Life”) has been named among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World (the “Global 100”). Sun Life is one of nine Canadian companies across all sectors, and the top-ranked North American insurance company to make the Global 100.

“Sustainability plays a crucial role within our organization, both in the short and long term,” said Melissa Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer & Public Affairs, Sun Life Financial. “This ranking reaffirms our commitment to continuously growing and improving so we can deliver value to our clients, employees, shareholders and communities.”

In 2014, Sun Life launched a refined sustainability strategy with a vision of building sustainable, healthier communities for life, by advancing efforts across four themes: Community Wellness, Organizational Resilience, Environmental Responsibility and Exemplary Governance and Risk Management.

“Across our businesses, we see examples of our strategy in action,” Kennedy said. “For example, all of our major corporate sites inCanada are LEED Certified buildings – evidence of our environmental accountability; and as we strengthen our organizational resilience, we are proud to report that 45% of middle management and above are women and that 33% of the Board of Directors are women.”

The Global 100 ranking was announced today by Corporate Knights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Sun Life has appeared on the annual ranking 10 of the 12 years since its inception. The ranking consists of the companies with the top overall scores in each sector.

Other recognition
In addition to its Global 100 ranking, Sun Life was ranked first in the Globe and Mail’s 13th annual review of corporate governance practices in Canada. Sun Life is also one of the Corporate Knights’ 2015 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, as well as a constituent in the FTSE4Good and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America indexes.

For details on additional Sun Life sustainability initiatives, visit the Sustainability page on

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India,China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2015, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $846 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars. 

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

Manulife is recognized as a Top Employer for Young People

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canada’s Top 100 Employers project has named Manulife one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People for the fifth consecutive year. The national competition recognizes Canadian employers for their leadership in the creation of exceptional workplaces for employees.

“Manulife is a company where young people can make a great impact. We value their input and ideas and we invest in their development through mentorship, networking, practical experience and global opportunities,” said Donald Arthur Guloien, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife. “Today, 41 per cent of all our employees are under the age of 35. Many of them are socially conscious and appreciate that our business, at its core, makes a contribution to society by offering great products and advice which helps people attain their personal goals.”

Manulife has an extensive student co-op program, offers new graduates fast track development programs in areas such as actuarial, finance, investments and information systems and offers a Financial Risk Management Internship program for masters of finance students. Manulife also focuses on innovation and technology, embodied in the Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) in Toronto and the RED Lab located in Kitchener-Waterloo, which aim to transform current offerings to meet customers’ changing needs.

Manulife has also been recognized as the most Trusted Insurance Brand in Canada by the University of Victoria’s Gustavson Brand Trust Index, by the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards with a Best Places to Work award and by Waterstone Human Capital who recognized Manulife as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures of 2015. Donald Arthur Guloien was also named one of Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs in Canada for 2015.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions.  We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere.  We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.  At the end of 2014, we had 28,000 employees, 58,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers.  At the end of September 2015, we had $888 billion (US$663 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $23 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers.  Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years.  With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.  Follow Manulife on Twitter@ManulifeNews or visit or

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

Here are 10 things you absolutely need to know about life insurance:

Here are 10 things you absolutely need to know about life insurance:

Excerpted article written by Tim Maurer | Forbes

Life insurance is one of the pillars of personal finance, deserving of consideration by every household. I’d even go so far as to say it’s vital for most. Yet, despite its nearly universal applicability, there remains a great deal of confusion, and even skepticism, regarding life insurance.

Perhaps this is due to life insurance’s complexity, the posture of those who sell it or merely our preference for avoiding the topic of our own demise. But armed with the proper information, you can simplify the decision-making process and arrive at the right choice for you and your family.

To help, here are 10 things you absolutely need to know about life insurance:

  1. If anyone relies on you financially, you need life insurance. It’s virtually obligatory if you are a spouse or the parent of dependent children. But you may also require life insurance if you are someone’s ex-spouse, life partner, a child of dependent parents, the sibling of a dependent adult, an employee, an employer or a business partner. If you are stably retired or financially independent, and no one would suffer financially if you were to be no more, then you don’t need life insurance. You may, however, consider using life insurance as a strategic financial tool.
    1. Life insurance does not simply apply a monetary value to someone’s life. Instead, it helps compensate for the inevitable financial consequences that accompany the loss of life. Strategically, it helps those left behind cover the costs of final expenses, outstanding debts and mortgages, planned educational expenses and lost income. But most importantly, in the aftermath of an unexpected death, life insurance can lessen financial burdens at a time when surviving family members are dealing with the loss of a loved one. In addition, life insurance can provide valuable peace of mind for the policy holder. That is why life insurance is vital for the bread winner of a single-income household, but still important for a stay-at-home spouse.
  1. Life insurance is a contract (called a policy). A policy is a contract between a life insurance company and someone (or occasionally something, like a trust) who has a financial interest in the life and livelihood of someone else. The insurance company pools the premiums of policyholders and pays out claims—called a death benefit—in the event of a death. The difference between the premiums taken in and the claims paid out is the insurance company’s profit.
    1. There are four primary players, or roles, in a life insurance policy. These roles belong to the insurer, the owner, the insured and the beneficiary. The insurer is the insurance company, responsible for paying out claims in the case of a death. The owner of the policy is responsible for premium payments to the insurance company. The insured is the person upon whose life the policy is based. The beneficiary is the person, trust or other entity due to receive the life insurance claim—or death benefit—in the case of the insured’s passing. For example, I am both the owner and the insured for two life insurance policies (with two different insurers, as it happens). My wife is the beneficiary of each. We walk through the numbers together at least annually (and after major arguments, to prove that I’m still worth more alive!).
  1. Life insurance is a risk management tool, not an investment. While some life insurance policies have an investment feature that can offer a degree of tax privilege, insurance is rarely an optimal investment. There’s usually a better, more efficient tool for the financial task you’re trying to accomplish. If you haven’t yet filled up your emergency cash reserves, paid off all non-mortgage debt, maxed out your 401(k) or Roth IRA, contributed to an education savings plan (where appropriate) and set money aside for large purchases you expect in the next decade, then you likely need not concern yourself with types of life insurance that contain an investment component. (You’ll see why in #7.)
  1. There are two broad varieties of life insurance about which you should become aware—term and permanent.Term life is the simplest, the least expensive and the most widely applicable. With term life, a life insurance company bases the policy premium on the probability that the insured will die within a stated term—typically 10, 20 or 30 years. The premiums are guaranteed for the length of the term, after which the policy becomes cost-prohibitive to maintain or you decide to let it lapse. Yes, this means that you may very well pay premiums for decades and “get nothing out of it.” But that’s good news, because it means you’re winning at the game of life.
  1. Life insurance can be extremely expensive, but it can also be surprisingly inexpensive. If you apply for a bells-and whistles permanent policy, the size of the premiums alone might cause you to need a life insurance benefit right then and there. But most people are pleasantly surprised when they see the relatively low premiums of a plain-vanilla term policy. A healthy, non-smoking, 30-something male, for example, might pay less than $500 per year for a 20-year term policy with a million dollar death benefit. That same individual might be required to pay 10—or even 20—times as much for a variable or whole life insurance policy with a matching death benefit. No, a term/perm comparison is not apples-to-apples. I would hazard to guess, however, that a recent widower cares little for bells-and-whistles but a great deal for the death benefit. Of course, a smoker will likely pay twice as much for any of the above. Someone with health problems could pay triple or more (or simply be declined for coverage).
  1. Determining the optimal life insurance policy for you doesn’t have to be complicated. While we could get really granular with a detailed life insurance needs analysis, it’s more important to get set up with something you can comprehend than it is to push off an important decision due to life insurance’s intimidating complexity. In the vast majority of situations, a household would be well cared for simply by buying enough life insurance to replicate all or most of the insured’s income for a term as long as the household expects to need that income.

Therefore, consider this simple but effective strategy for determining how much life insurance your household needs. Multiply a wage earner’s income by 15 and purchase a policy with an equivalent death benefit for a term that extends until the person insured would presumably retire. Why 15? Because it works. But it works because it results in a number that should re-create 75% of a wage earner’s income if the death benefit was conservatively invested to earn 5% (hopefully plus a bit more for inflation) annually. Here’s an example:

  • Dave makes $100,000.
  • $100,000 x 15 = $1,500,000 of death benefit
  • $1,500,000 earning 5% annually produces $75,000 of income.
  1. Consider using a live person to help in your death planning. There are many online tools that can help give you an idea of how much money you should pay for the policy you need. But once you get to that point, I would recommend contacting a real, live insurance agent who can walk you through the application and underwriting process. The premiums at a given insurance company are identical whether you apply online, via a toll-free number or with a person. Indeed, a knowledgeable and dedicated insurance broker or agent may help you save money by choosing the best carrier for your particular situation. Underwriting, by the way, is the necessarily tedious process through which the insurance company classifies how much of a risk you are, based on your current health, past health, the health of your parents and siblings and enough other questions to make anyone blush. Answer truthfully—but succinctly.
  1. Know your options when cancelling an existing life insurance policy so you don’t leave money, or coverage, on the table. If you have a policy that isn’t appropriate for you—or you simply no longer need it—it’s important to proceed carefully. First, if you realize that you have overpaid for a policy that doesn’t meet your needs, but you still need life insurance, don’t cancel the wrong policy until the right policy is in place. Who knows, you could learn of a health complication that is going to lead to you being declined for the new policy. Then you’d be left without any coverage. If you have an existing term policy you no longer need, you can simply cease premium payments and it will go away. If you have an unnecessary permanent policy with a cash value, however, you should analyze its present and expected future investment value, as well as any prospective tax complications, before cashing it in. You can do so by requesting an “in-force illustration” and a “cost basis report” from your agent.

I suspect we don’t love talking about life insurance because we don’t like talking about death. No shocker there. But open and honest discussions about planning for an unexpected death can be surprisingly life-giving. And even if you don’t buy that, the chances are good that purchasing life insurance is still an important part of your long-term and comprehensive financial plan.


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Manulife Financial reports profit down from year ago after oil and gas hits

TORONTO _ Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) saw its third-quarter profit fall compared with a year ago as it was hit by losses related to its oil and gas investments.

The insurance company said Thursday it booked $220 million in charges related to its investments as losses in oil and gas were offset in part by gains related to fixed-income redeployment, favourable credit experience and other assets.

Overall, Manulife said it earned a profit of $622 million in its latest quarter or 30 cents per diluted share. That compared with a profit of $1.10 billion or 57 cents per diluted share for the same quarter a year earlier.

The results for the most recent quarter included a charge of $285 million due to changes in actuarial methods and assumptions and a net gain of $232 million related to the direct impact of equity markets and interest rates.

Manulife said its core earnings for the quarter amounted to $870 million or 43 cents per share, up from $755 million or 39 cents per share a year ago.

“We delivered strong operating results in the third quarter, including double-digit growth in insurance sales and positive net flows in our wealth and asset management businesses,” chief executive Donald Guloien said in a statement.

Manulife is a Toronto-based insurance and financial services company with some C$883 billion in assets under management.

It operates as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and under the John Hancock banner in the U.S.


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