Leveraging data analytics, advocacy and actions to improve outcomes

Our commitment to thought leadership and advocacy help us drive change in our group retirement services offerings.

We continued to provide data analytics and market insights to support plan design reviews and changes. And throughout the year, we provided insights on member behaviour through data analytics reports, videos, webinars, podcasts and infographics.

We also continued to advocate on behalf of plan sponsors, plan members and Canadians with regulators and with the Federal Government. This included advocacy for two new annuity products – the Advanced Life Deferred Annuity and Variable Payment Life Annuity. We’ve also advocated for changes to TFSAs to allow annuities to be held within a TFSA account and generate tax-free retirement income. 

Read a Bright Paper

We published an infographic in May to highlight key findings from recent national studies conducted by Sun Life. The studies gauged attitudes and actions of Canadians and GRS members relating to mental and financial health during COVID-19. The infographic also provided links to relevant, free resources to support overall employee wellness.

View the infographic

COVID-19 brought a lot of unknowns and uncertainties into the lives of plan sponsors and plan members. In response, we assembled a dedicated team of subject matter experts who met daily to review and monitor plan member and market activity.

This helped us determine when broader rapid response communications were appropriate and enabled us to connect with you and plan members quickly through multiple channels. Our outreach included the following:

  • In April, during government-imposed lockdowns and steep market declines, we held a market update webinar with our investment experts to help plan sponsors understand the economic factors moving markets. A Group Retirement Savings market update webinar (English only)
  • In April, we created a podcast episode that analyzed plan member investment behaviour in the early, and most volatile, period of the pandemic. Podcast regarding investment-related behaviour (English only)
  • In July, we created an in-depth report covering the period of market volatility resulting from the COVID-19 health and financial crisis. The report provided a view of broad economic themes, as well as a focus on actions taken by plan members and sponsors. View the report (July)
  • In July, we created a podcast episode focussed on helping plan sponsors understand the uncharted waters of investing during a pandemic. The podcast also highlighted how insightful plan design can make a difference in helping plan members invest successfully for the long term. Podcast about investments, market volatility and the pandemic (English only)

In August, we shared our newest Bright Paper, A TFSA: 12 years on and growing strong, to mark the 12th year of the TFSA. More than 14 million Canadians have a TFSA account, representing $275 billion in savings.

This Bright Paper analyzed how TFSAs are used in group plans, the benefits to employers, and the key advantages to plan members, namely:

  • Tax advantages – especially for early career millennials
  • Contribution and withdrawal flexibility
  • Decumulation advantages in retirement

Read the Bright Paper

2021 preview

We’ll continue to share knowledge, insights and case studies through our website using Bright Papers, podcasts, videos, webinars and more. 

This will include the release of our latest Designed for Savings report. It’s our ground-breaking benchmark report on workplace savings which provides the most comprehensive look at capital accumulation plans in Canada.

We also understand the challenges you face in trying to support competing priorities, with the right level of focus, expertise and timeliness. With Sun Life Delegated DC, we offer plan administration and oversight of your plan’s investment line up, as well as compliance support. This is on top of our robust recordkeeping and plan member engagement solutions and the flexibility that integrates with your internal team, plan advisor or consultant.

If you are currently working with an advisor or consultant, we encourage you to discuss this with them. In the event you do not currently work with an advisor or consultant, please reach out to your Sun Life Sales or Client Relationship Executive for an initial discussion. 

And for clients with defined benefit (DB) plans, our DB Investment-Only services (DB INVO) program will continue to provide a full end-to-end strategy, from Pooled Funds to LDI to Annuities. 

We provide a choice of investment structures, Canadian institutional investment and retail managers, comprehensive reporting, and unparalleled support for pensioners, all at a competitive price. Our delivery of solutions to our clients includes:

  • Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada issuing the policy to the DB pension fund trustee or to the sponsor, depending on how the plan is set up
  • the investment of assets, asset mix re-balancing, investment performance, and financial reporting for the DB plan
  • the use of individual and corporate annuities to ensure the long-term commitment of providing benefit payments.