Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a big international insurance firm which is based in Waterloo, Ontario. It has a large financial services offering but it is primarily a life insurance based company. Sun Life Financial has a large presence in the United States, the Caribbean, Asia and the UK. After leaving the Indian and Chinese markets in the 1950s it has now gone back in to these markets and is one of the international leaders in back office out sourcing. It has 29,180 employees worldwide. Sun Life Financial has 7,440 employees in Canada and 3,550 freelance advisors and managers in its tied financial advisor network. Its strong presence in Canada is cemented by a multi-channel distribution network consisting of tied advisors, independent financial advisors and direct marketing. It has the largest exclusive life insurance distribution channel in Canada. It has a particular emphasis on keeping relationships with large employers to whom it offers personalized service.

Sun Life Product Offerings

The roots of Sun Life are in life insurance and it has a 7.2% share of the life and health insurance market in Canada. It also provides complimentary insurance to life insurance such as employee and retiree health insurance, disability benefits insurance, dental and drug insurance, accidental death and critical illness insurance. Its health activities also cover areas such as Personal Spending Accounts (PSA).

Like many other large and medium sized life insurance companies it has consciously grown its personal investment offerings. It has strong mutual links with CI Financial which is well as being one of the strongest performing mutual fund companies in Canada. Sun Life is the market leader in Canada in the defined contributions pension market.

Its employee benefits business is based on its relationship with major employers and includes such offerings as payroll services, employee share ownership plans, international benefits consulting and profit sharing plans.

Sun Life History

Sun Life first started operations in 1871 in Montreal. The firm was like many other large Canadian firms in the nineteenth century equally at home in the rapidly expanding American market and also keen to take advantage of its British links by expanding in the British Empire and South America. By the end of the Nineteenth Century and through much of the early Twentieth Century it had a strong presence in many parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth, although it pulled out of some of the more unstable markets. During the Second World War, its Montreal vaults were the safe hiding place of many of the UK government's liquid assets including, it is rumored, the crown jewels.

Relocation to Ontario

Although it was a Quebec based company it always had an English speaking culture and staff and so when the government of Quebec insisted on all business being conducted in French the company decided to relocate to Toronto in 1979. Its offices, the Sun Life Centre, were completed in 1984 and were considered to be ultra-modern for that time. Its head offices are now in Waterloo, Ontario, currently about 100 km from Toronto.

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