Sun Life Financial Services

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR112
Case Length : 32 Pages
Period : 1982 - 2002
Organization : Sun Life Financial Services
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : Canada
Industry : Financial Services

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Sun Life adopted mergers and acquisitions to expand in new markets and also to consolidate its position in markets where it already had a presence. In 1982, Sun Life acquired an 85% stake in the US-based Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS), which was an established player in the management and distribution of mutual funds and institutional funds. It was also a leading player in the variable annuity products management for other companies, including financial services companies. In 2001, MFS was ranked fourth in the mutual funds industry, on the basis of new flows generated in retail mutual funds. By the end of 2001, MFS was managing US$ 120 billion in assets for more than five million individual and institutional mutual fund and annuity investors worldwide...

Business Segments

Sun Life's business, spread across four geographic segments, Canada, the US, the UK and Asia, was divided into two principal business segments - 'Wealth Management' and 'Protection.'

Wealth Management:The wealth management business consisted of asset management, mutual fund, pension, and annuity & brokerage operations. Considered to be the 'growth segment' of Sun Life, the wealth management segment managed assets worth C$315.2 billion in 2001 - 90% of the company's total assets under management. In the same year, wealth management represented around 55% of the total revenues earned by the company...

Products & Services

The products and services offered by the company under its wealth and protection businesses were divided into the following categories - Insurance Products, Investments, Savings & Loans, and Services (Refer Table IV for the insurance products).


In its life insurance plans, Sun Life offered various products, which targeted different segments of customers.

The insurance products were broadly classified into the categories of Individual Insurance and Group Insurance (Refer Table IV for the product profile)...


Along with its insurance products, Sun Life also offered investment services to its customers. The products and services under investment services were:

Mutual funds: The company offered various kinds of accounts through which customers could invest in mutual funds.

Segregated funds: These funds ensured that an individual's investment was secure, no matter how the market performed. The investor was guaranteed to receive 75% of the initial investment.

Annuities: These provided a guaranteed interest rate while protecting the savings. Sun Life offered various kinds of annuity plans such as Superflex, Non-redeemable Guaranteed Investment Account, and Income master...


Sun Life believed in 'always working with the customers' perspective in the mind'. From the time it was set up, the company catered to the needs of customers by creating innovative products and services. It was one of the first insurance companies to issue unconditional polices. Over the decades, Sun Life devised many innovative policies, which helped it gain a competitive advantage in the insurance market the world over. Many insurance companies charged extra premium from military personnel, as the risk involved for their lives was higher...


Sun Life's international growth began in the early 1890s, with the company expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, the United States, the United Kingdom and Latin America. By the 1930s, Sun Life was operating in nearly 60 countries - however, due to political instability, currency devaluation and war, the company was forced to withdraw its operations from most of these countries. In 2001, Sun Life had operations in over 17 countries and derived around 77% of its total revenues from its global operations. United States was the largest source of revenues, contributing around 47% of total revenues...

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