Answers to questions that are top of mind for institutional investors

Steve C. Peacher

Steve C. Peacher

President, Sun Life Investment Management

Insights for Institutional Investors Spotlight

Sun Life Investment Management was created in 2014 to offer third-party institutional investors with long-term liabilities the same investment expertise that Sun Life Financial has built over 150 years to successfully manage its own general account. The Sun Life Investment Management group of companies has grown to include four distinct asset managers that serve the North American market: Bentall Kennedy, Prime Advisors, Inc., Ryan Labs Asset Management and Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc.

Each firm offers unique capabilities and expertise, and together they help fulfil Sun Life Investment Management’s mission: to design and deliver investment solutions for liability-based institutional investors based on our long-standing expertise in fixed income, liability-driven investing and alternative, yield-oriented asset classes.

In this quarter’s Spotlight, Steve Peacher, President of Sun Life Investment Management addresses a question often posed by prospects and clients. You’ll see that his answer provides insight into how Sun Life Investment Management harnesses over 150 years of investment experience to differentiate itself in a yield-starved market, and is driven to meet the challenging goal of adding alpha to client portfolios.

Institutional investors ask…

How does managing money for the Sun Life Financial general account have an impact on how Sun Life Investment Management manages money for clients?

This is a question that clients often ask, and it’s a good one. Sun Life Investment Management’s key differentiator is the ability to leverage the investment experience built by Sun Life Financial, and to apply the same philosophy, principles and expertise we use for our general account to managing money for third-party institutional investors. Sun Life Financial has a rich 150-year history, and its core products of life insurance and annuities involve making long-term commitments to our clients. We learned over the decades how to invest our assets to make good on commitments when they arise, which is the basis of successful liability-driven investing. The nature of our liabilities allow us to take advantage of a long-term perspective and as an institutional investor ourselves, we manage our general account that currently stands at approximately USD $113 billion as of September 30, 2017.

Our clients have the same objectives for their portfolios that we have for our general account – to meet long-term obligations in the most efficient manner. To achieve this, our managers will always strive to out-perform the benchmark while also taking a holistic long-term view. Investors are looking to alternative investments for extra sources of yield without taking on incremental risk. That’s why our investment strategies, which include private debt, real estate, and liability-driven investing, resonate with institutional investors. In fact, we are seeing organizations migrate towards how insurance companies have historically managed money in order to replicate their success.

Sun Life Investment Management believes strongly in looking for opportunities to co-invest with our clients in strategies used for the general account, and we have many examples of doing so. Co-investing results in an alignment of interests, and is another key factor that differentiates us from other asset managers. We take pride in investing along side our clients – there’s no more tangible evidence that we believe in our solutions. The asset managers that make up Sun Life Investment Management each offer a unique set of expertise, products and solutions, but have the common goal of servicing clients and working diligently to seek to ensure that their clients’ long-term obligations – and ours – will be met.

So when we circle back to the original question – how managing the general account impacts how we manage money for clients – it’s clear that we treat clients the way we want to be treated ourselves. In 2014, Sun Life Investment Management started with a vision to offer the market its long-standing investment expertise. We’ve grown quickly, but with focused strategic intent. And as our platform of investment solutions continues to grow and evolve, innovating to create new products and look to new asset classes in which to invest, we will also continue to hold ourselves to the highest expectations of our clients. We would not offer any strategy to our clients, if we weren’t willing to invest in it ourselves.

Steve is President of Sun Life Investment Management, Sun Life Financial’s third-party institutional investment management platform. This includes the Bentall Kennedy Group in North America, Prime Advisors, Inc. and Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc. in the United States, and Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc. in Canada. To read Steve’s full bio click here.

This article is intended for U.S. institutional investors only. It is not for retail use or distribution to individual investors. The information in this article is not intended to provide specific financial, tax, investment, insurance, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied upon and does not constitute a specific offer to buy and/or sell securities, insurance or investment services. Investors should consult with their professional advisors before acting upon any information contained in this article. All opinions and commentary are subject to change without notice and are provided in good faith without legal responsibility.

© 2017, Sun Life Investment Management