What is the actuarial graduate program?

Sun Life Financial has developed a supportive environment that gives aspiring actuaries the resources they need to be successful. Sun Life's Actuarial Development Program is a great way for you to:

Accelerate your leadership development

  • You'll learn directly from business leaders you work alongside and see how we lead as actuaries to help drive business success.
  • You'll participate in a rotational program and get the opportunity to experience different areas of our business.

Make an impact that matters in the real world

  • Here is your chance to work on real, challenging problems that have a direct impact on the results and success of both our company and our clients.
  • We will look to you to help solve problems that don't always have an easy or existing answer and require new and innovative solutions.

Collaborate with other high performers in a supportive team environment

  • We have a great team with diverse backgrounds and we continue to look for more great members.
  • You'll get support from colleagues who have gone through the program already; colleagues become friends and allies.
  • We work in a fun, open and collaborative environment.

Program requirements

To participate in the Actuarial Development Program, you must:

  • Be working in a job recognized as an actuarial analyst position
  • Demonstrate the intention to enroll in the qualifying actuarial exam coursework
  • Maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the entire curriculum
  • Maintain satisfactory work performance

Preparing for the exams

As an actuarial analyst in the program, you'll get the opportunity to rotate among different areas within Sun Life. This way, you'll gain exposure to different fields of actuarial work and find the area that's most interesting – and most suited – to you.

The Actuarial Development Program will help you pass the actuarial exams and develop the skills necessary for success in the actuarial field. Jointly sponsored by the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, this is an intense series of exams that require dedication, commitment and the discipline to maximize study time. You'll receive time off from work to study, compensation incentives for passing exams and exam fee reimbursement.

Student opportunities

In addition to our full-time actuarial staff, we also provide opportunities for co-ops and internships by offering roles that are geared towards students currently enrolled in a university program. You'll work on quality projects and gain valuable insight into the challenges and opportunities the actuarial profession can offer. Get a head start on your career – and start developing the skills you'll need before you graduate.

Professional development

Passing the exams is the foundation of your actuarial development, but that's just the beginning. Sun Life sponsors our actuarial staff to attend professional meetings, seminars, conferences and classes in order to support continued professional development and relationship building with actuaries from other companies. Sun Life values its employees' dedication to the profession.


Actuarial student and new grad profiles

Logan Kowalchuk

Senior Actuarial Analyst, Asset Liability Management

Muhammad Ali Rizvi

Associate Director, Life & Other Health Pricing & Profitability Management, Group Benefits Actuarial

Sally Chan

Assistant Vice-President, Canadian Actuarial Pricing


Example of roles available in the Actuarial Graduate Program

Sun Life's Defined Benefit Solutions (DBS) business develops and implements innovative de-risking solutions for defined benefit pension plans. The employee will conduct longevity research, monitor and influence industry best practices, support custom longevity underwriting for group annuity and longevity insurance transactions, and develop cutting-edge longevity models using predictive modelling.

This role provides an excellent opportunity for an individual with leadership characteristics to help tie together the medical research and actuarial modelling work that the Longevity Team is doing and to create solutions directly driving the success of our business.

Main Accountabilities:
  • Longevity research
    • Stay abreast of global longevity research (medical, environmental, social, etc.) and evaluate this research to determine its impact on Sun Life's view of future longevity
    • Advance internal and external advocacy efforts including drafting internal distributions and external publications on longevity, supporting presentations to the Longevity Leadership Group, and participating in industry committees
  • Actuarial best practices
    • Stay abreast of emerging industry trends and longevity modelling techniques
    • Contribute to the investigation and evaluation of longevity projection models and data sources
    • Support risk management initiatives, including risk metric development and internal risk structuring projects
  • Transaction support
    • Support custom longevity underwriting for group annuity and longevity insurance transactions
    • Prepare analysis and recommendations and share final results with the DBS Pricing Team
  • Model development
    • Use predictive modelling to continuously advance the longevity underwriting methodology used in the pricing of group annuity and longevity insurance products
    • Create and maintain longevity models that reflect industry best practices
    • Use these models to conduct longevity assumption reviews
Group Retirement Services (GRS) creates innovative solutions that enable our clients to offer their employees the type of smart savings solutions and sound financial advice that will empower them to achieve their personal retirement goals.

The employee will play a key role in the development of the evolving framework, models and tools required for the actuarial support of group annuity product initiatives and ongoing management and analysis of annuity product portfolio including Guaranteed Income Annuity (GIA), Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) and Defined Benefit Solutions products such as annuity buy-outs, annuity buy-ins and longevity insurance.

Main Accountabilities:
Portfolio Management: Support financial analysis and reporting of group annuity products including Source of Earnings and Canadian Asset Liability Method (CALM) testing
  • Business Planning: Provide support in business planning processes and in other financial planning and projections, including actuarial appraisal value
  • Collaboration: Provide support and partner with other members of the GRS Actuarial team as well as the GRS Finance, GRS Admin and Defined Benefit Solutions teams for other activities including any ad-hoc requests and special projects
  • Model Improvements: Proactively drive model, process, methodology and documentation improvements by conducting innovative research to identify existing issues and to recommend and implement enhancements.
Sun Life's Defined Benefit Solutions (DBS) business develops and implements innovative de-risking solutions for defined benefit pension plans including the first Canadian longevity insurance transaction announced in early 2015.

Main Accountabilities:

  • Responsible for the accurate and timely delivery of group annuity and longevity insurance quotations, which includes preparing analysis and recommendations to the Director, Pricing
  • Draft e-mail communications for pension consultants and plan sponsors to clarify various pricing issues and considerations for payout annuity and longevity insurance purchases
  • Design, maintain, and improve pricing models
  • Provide analytical and technical support to group annuity administration as required
  • Support the development of customized quotations and intellectual capital
  • Support the pricing and profitability reviews of existing products in accordance with the product design and pricing approval process
  • Support the development and design of new products as required
  • Stay abreast of market longevity trends and regulatory changes that may impact existing pricing initiatives
  • Implement assumption and model changes
  • Suggest and implement process improvements
  • Maintain procedural documentation

Frequently asked questions

If you're an actuarial student or fellow interested in a future with Sun Life Financial, you may be curious about a few of these topics:

In Canada, we offer paid internships and co-op terms throughout the year in a variety of areas in our Toronto and Waterloo offices. These roles are generally intended for students who are in the process of completing their university education. During your time with us, you will have challenging work and be part of the actuarial community. This includes receiving exam support, participating in education sessions and taking part in social events. Interested students may apply online for opportunities in Canada.
The Actuarial Development Program is a package of benefits created to foster an environment that will help you pass your actuarial exams and develop your actuarial skills. As a member of the Actuarial Development Program, you will be exposed to a wide variety of actuarial experiences in diverse business units through our rotation program. Our competitive study program will assist you in progressing through actuarial exams, and enable you to apply the knowledge you gain from your studies to current actuarial issues. You will also have opportunities to expand your knowledge through formal education sessions and to meet other actuarial students and actuaries at Sun Life Financial at a variety of social events. Interested students may apply online for opportunities in Canada.
The rotation program gives full-time actuarial analysts the opportunity to broaden their actuarial and business experience and develop into well-rounded actuaries. As part of this program, you will rotate every 18-24 months to another team within Sun Life Financial (e.g., Individual Insurance, Individual Wealth Annuities, Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services, Investments, Asset Liability Management (ALM) and Corporate Actuarial). Rotating among different roles not only helps you improve your technical skills but also enhances your leadership abilities by allowing you to see different areas of our business and work with different leaders. The majority of rotations occur within the same work location, but there are occasionally opportunities to rotate to other locations in Canada, the U.S. or internationally.
The Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, in particular Excel and Excel-related Visual Basic programming will be essential to your success. We use industry-related applications such as AXIS (a GGY product) and other specialized actuarial and financial software for advanced forecasting and projecting. This is just a sample of the commercial software packages used for pricing, reserving and risk management. Students typically learn to use specialized software while on the job. A basic understanding of computer science can be useful.
Sun Life Financial is an established and trusted name in insurance and financial services, with offices and operations in key markets around the world. Our worldwide headquarters is in Toronto, Ontario and our Canadian head office is in Waterloo, Ontario. In Canada, we have offices in a variety of cities across the country. Most actuarial roles are located within our Toronto and Waterloo offices.
Before you even considered joining Sun Life Financial, you may have seen us when we visited your university. Every fall, we send an actuarial recruiting team to several Canadian universities. In addition, we often run events on campus at universities at other times throughout the year. Our actuarial recruiting team also participates in the annual Actuarial Students National Associate Convention (ASNA).

As soon as you start working at Sun Life Financial, you will be paired up with a more experienced actuarial student who will assist you in navigating the actuarial student program, introduce you to other actuarial students and answer questions you have about Sun Life Financial.

The Actuarial Community hosts meetings and forums each year sponsored by the Chief Actuary. Community meetings are used for general news and information-sharing, while forums are used as teaching sessions for advanced topics. Typically, each meeting is followed by a social session where students and fellows get together and network.

In addition to the work-related events, there are also social events throughout the year, such as sporting events, pub nights and exam celebrations. These are great opportunities to get to know other students and actuaries across the company.
Sun Life Financial's Actuarial Development Program provides coverage for exam fees and study materials as well as paid time off for studying and bonuses for passing exams.
Please consult your recruiter for details.
We are looking for bright people with the potential to develop into well-rounded actuaries. In particular, we look for people who are:
  • well-rounded both in academics and extra-curricular activities
  • strong academic performers
  • demonstrably committed to passing actuarial exams
  • technically inclined
  • solid leaders and communicators
  • fast learners,
  • decisive and get positive results
  • work well with others
Prior actuarial work experience is an asset, but is not required. We have a strong preference for candidates that have successfully completed at least 2 exams.
We have operations in many countries and an increasing presence in key worldwide markets. This opens up global opportunities for Employees seeking an exciting challenge. Short-term or long-term actuarial opportunities may arise in Canada, the U.S., Hong Kong, China, Ireland, India and the U.K.
Fellows (FCIAs and FSAs) are encouraged to continue broadening their experience by working in different areas at Sun Life Financial. A role typically lasts 3 to 5 years, although this will vary for every individual and role. Fellows may move through formal rotations or apply for roles as they become available. Formal rotations are not on a regular cycle, but occur periodically depending on the needs of the individuals and the business.
Yes. We are committed to helping you increase your technical and business skills as well as supporting you in meeting the Continuing Professional Development requirements. So, we offer regular education sessions on a variety of topics, through internal speakers, external speakers or industry-wide webcasts.