November 07, 2016

Organizational changes at Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc.

Plan sponsors may wish to consider whether this investment news has any implications for the investment options available within their plans. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada purchases units of the fund listed below, which is established as a segregated fund in accordance with the Insurance Companies Act (Canada).

Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc. (SLIIC) has announced the retirement of Thomas Robinson, Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for the Sun Life Private Fixed Income Fund (the Fund), effective September 27, 2016. The Fund is available on Sun Life Financial's DB investment platform.

On July 4, 2016, in preparation for Mr. Robinson's departure, Candace Shaw assumed the position of Co-Portfolio Manager for the Fund, and assumed the role of Head of Private Fixed Income. In addition, Maurice Primeau will become Co-Portfolio Manager for the Fund, pending regulatory approval. Mr. Primeau has been with Sun Life Financial for eight years and in the investment industry for 27 years.

In a separate communication, SLIIC announced two additional personnel changes within the private fixed income team:

  • Joining Ms. Shaw and Mr. Primeau, Petra Wendroth, Director, Private Fixed Income, has been promoted to Director and Associate Portfolio Manager, Private Fixed Income, (pending regulatory approval). Ms. Wendroth joined SLIIC in 2012 and has experience in portfolio construction, specializing in structuring and underwriting private fixed income investments, along with managing private fixed income portfolios.
  • Nushi Kazemian, Managing Director and Co-Portfolio Manager, Private Fixed Income, transitioned to a new role as Managing Director, Private Fixed Income. Ms. Kazemian will focus on the origination and development of private debt investments and is no longer a Portfolio Manager on the Fund effective September 7, 2016.

SunINsight Watch List

As a result of the personnel changes noted above, the Sun Life Private Fixed Income Fund has been placed on Sun Life Financial's Watch List in the Additional Monitoring category.
Mr. Robinson, a 36 year veteran of Sun Life, is a notable loss of management expertise for the Fund and his retirement was announced with a relatively short transition period. While we view his departure as significant, we believe it is mitigated by SLIIC's position as one of North America's largest private fixed income managers with an experienced team of over 40 investment professionals who average 18 years of industry experience.

Additionally, Ms. Shaw has tenure of almost 30 years at Sun Life Financial with her most recent role being Chief Credit Risk Officer; in this role she was responsible for approval of all of Sun Life's credit holdings, including private fixed income. We view the additions of Mr. Primeau and
Ms. Wendroth positively with respect to the depth of expertise on the team and future succession planning.

There are no changes to the investment objectives, approach and portfolio management of the aforementioned fund as a result of this announcement.

Please contact your Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services representative.