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Sun Life to diversify asset management following Q2 outflows


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Sun Life to diversify asset management following Q2 outflows

Second-quarter sales were down for Sun Life Financial Inc.'s asset management business compared to the previous quarter, and flow trends were impacted by $11.5 billion in net redemptions, led by institutional cashouts, executives said.

Sales compared unfavorably to record first-quarter numbers in the U.S. retail business, Michael Roberge, CEO of the asset management line, said during a conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings.

Outflows were consistent with the trend throughout the U.S. for the second quarter, which saw a slowdown in new investment dollars coming in. More of what did arrive tilted toward fixed income and away from active managers, according to Roberge.

The company saw higher outflows among institutional clients, who gave rebalancing as the main reason for pulling their money out of Sun Life's active investment strategies, Roberge said. Clients have sought to shed risk, which has sent them into fixed income and away from equities, which performed well during the quarter, the CEO said.

"Because our institutional book is skewed toward equities, that has an impact on us," Roberge said.

Redemption rates continue to be elevated across the asset management industry, but the company's managers do not think it will persist long term. In the meantime, Sun Life is looking to diversify its asset classes to include more fixed income, which is a relatively new class for the company, Roberge said. Sun Life's asset management arm has seen pressure from the demand for passive investments that pay lower management fees, but mainly from the retail part of the business, he added.