Sun Life Financial Inc has announced first quarter net income of $551 million up from $540 million for the same quarter in 2016.

Sun Life also reported earnings per share of $0.89 for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $0 88 for Q1 2016. Return on equity was 11.0% for Q1 2017 compared to 11.5% for the same period a year earlier.

"We achieved strong top line growth with a 58% increase in insurance sales and 13% increase in wealth sales, compared to the same period last year,” said Dean Connor, President and CEO, Sun Life Financial. “Assets under management grew to $927 billion during the quarter, and our Canadian and Asia pillars performed well, however, we saw lower results in our U.S. business and MFS continued to experience recent trends in net outflows."

Connor also commented on Sun Life’s progress with respect to digital services. “For example, for a portion of our Canadian plan sponsors whose employees use our new digital enrolment tool, we helped them get the most from their plans and this contributed to an increase in retirement savings in 70% of these plans.”

Canadian results

For SLF Canada, individual insurance sales doubled to $144 million in Q1 2017, “driven by strong third-party sales of participating whole life and universal life insurance as a result of tax legislation and product design changes,” stated the company.

Individual wealth sales of $1.7 billion were 16% above the same quarter of the prior year with continued growth from wealth manufactured products, including SLGI mutual funds, Sun GIF segregated funds and increases in fixed product sales.

Group benefits sales

In Q1 2017, group benefits sales more than doubled and Group Retirement Services sales increased approximately 76% compared to the first quarter of 2016, “primarily due to several large-case sales,” stated Sun Life.