Sun Life Financial posted net income of $623 million for the first quarter of 2019, down from Q1 2018 net income of $669 million.
The company’s underlying net income in Q1 2019 was $717 million, a decrease from $770 million for the same quarter last year.
Sun Life’s reported return on equity for the quarter was 11.5 per cent, compared to 13.1 per cent a year earlier.
In terms of financial strength, Sun Life Financal’s LICAT ratio was 145% while Sun Life Assurance’s was 132%.
Achieved a major milestone
"We've delivered a strong first quarter with underlying net income of $717 million, up 9% over the prior year excluding the one-time interest on par seed capital, and 14% growth in the value of new business," said Dean Connor, President and CEO, Sun Life Financial. "We also achieved a major milestone with more than one trillion dollars of assets under management as at March 31, 2019. We are pleased to announce an increase in our common share dividend by 5% to $0.525 and our intention to amend our normal course issuer bid to allow for the purchase of an additional four million common shares."
Connor added that Sun life is continuing to drive outcomes that reflect its purpose and make the company easier to do business with. “For example, in the U.S., the newly launched Sun Life and Maxwell Health digital platform offers employees of our Group Benefits plans the support they need to make personalized benefit decisions through a faster and more intuitive experience. And in Canada, Sun Life has collaborated with Rise People Inc. to offer an integrated human resources, payroll and benefits solution that drives greater value for employers and employees through a digital experience."
SLF Canada results
SLF Canada reported net income of $237 million in the first quarter of 2019, a five per cent decline compared to $249 million in Q1 2018. Insurance sales in Canada amounted to $362 million during the first quarter of this year, a 22% increase over Q1 2018. This increase was “primarily driven by large case sales in Group Benefits and higher sales in individual insurance,” stated Sun Life.
Wealth sales in Canada, however, totalled $2.8 billion, a 26% decline compared to the same quarter a year before. This decrease reflected a large case sale in Group Retirement Services in the first quarter of 2018, explained the company. A 13 per cent decline in Individual wealth sales reflected a weaker RRSP season across the industry, said Sun Life.
Among the Canadian business highlights for the quarter, Sun Life underlined that it became the first major group benefits provider to offer gender affirmation coverage.