Great-West Lifeco Inc. has announced net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $591 million or $0.598 per common share, compared to $620 million or $0.625 per common share for the same quarter last year. 

In an announcement issued May 4, the company explained that its first quarter 2017 net earnings included restructuring costs of $28 million, primarily related to the company's health and retail businesses in Ireland and the completion of integration activities for Empower Retirement. Excluding these costs, net earnings for the first quarter of 2017 were $619 million or $0.627 per common share, comparable to the same quarter last year.

Strong sales for Canadian and European businesses

Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Office said, "First quarter earnings reflect strong sales in our Canadian and European businesses and the benefits of cost reduction initiatives in the U.S." He added, "While underlying business fundamentals were positive in the quarter, earnings were impacted by currency headwinds and restructuring charges related to business integration activities and right-sizing of our cost base. We remain focused on advancing our business strategies by balancing efficiency gains with necessary investments in future growth across the Company."

Consolidated assets under administration at March 31, 2017 were approximately $1.3 trillion, an increase of $47.4 billion from Dec. 31, 2016.

Premiums and deposits grow 12%

Lifeco’s premiums and deposits in the first quarter of 2017 were $33.5 billion, up 12% compared to the same quarter in 2016. This reflects higher premiums and deposits across all segments, said the company. Return on Equity (ROE), excluding the impact of restructuring costs, was 13.9% for the quarter.

Canadian results

In its announcement, the company highlighted its realignment of its Canadian operations into two new business units: one focused on individual customers and the other on group customers. “As part of the realignment, a new strategic customer marketing function has been created to provide a more holistic customer experience through digital and innovative capabilities and services.”

In the first quarter, sales in the Canada were $3.7 billion, up 12% from the first quarter of 2016. “The increase reflects solid individual wealth sales which were up 14% compared to the first quarter of 2016, primarily due to strong segregated funds and mutual funds sales, and group wealth sales which were up 13% year over year,” explains Lifeco. Individual insurance sales also increased significantly as participating life sales carried over from the fourth quarter 2016 activity.