We periodically review our products to ensure they continue to provide our Clients and their members with the right experience, features, and support. As the result of this review, we’re introducing several changes to SunAdvantage my savings (SAMS) plan.

What’s changing?

1. Changes to the SAMS fund line up, new default fund for the TFSA and sweeping members’ assets to the new funds.

We’re reducing the number of funds to make it easier for plan members to make their investment choices and offering multi-strategy funds to provide broader diversification of investment strategies. 

The new funds will be available as of November 16, 2021. The SAMS mapping chart summarizes the funds that we will close and the replacement funds.

We will move all members’ assets and investment directions from the closing funds to the new funds on November 23, 2021.

With the move from the Sun Life Bond Segregated Fund to the Sun Life Multi-Strategy Core Plus Bond Segregated Fund, the default fund for the TFSA will also change to the Sun Life Multi-Strategy Core Plus Bond Segregated Fund.

What action is required?

Sponsors and members don’t have to take any action.

Plan members who invest in the closing funds may want to review their options and make changes any time after November 23, 2021.

About BlackRock

BlackRock is a global asset manager with US$ 9.5 trillion of assets under management across different asset classes and investment strategies (as of June 30, 2021). BlackRock is a leader in low cost, passive solutions including index funds and Exchange Traded Funds. As of June 30, 2021, BlackRock had US$ 6.3 trillion of assets in the passive solutions.

The investment objective of the BlackRock Index Funds in SAMS is to track the return and risk profile of their respective benchmark.

Fund name

Benchmark

BlackRock Universe Bond Index

FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index

BlackRock US Equity Index

S&P 500 Index

BlackRock EAFE Equity Index

MSCI EAFE (Net) Index

BlackRock Global Equity Index

MSCI All Country World ex-Canada Index

About SLGI Asset Management Inc.

SLGI Asset Management Inc (“SLGI”) is the investment manager of the Sun Life Granite Target Date funds and Sun Life Multi-Strategy Funds. The Sun Life Granite and Multi-Strategy Funds have a multi-manager structure that provides exposure to different investment styles in each of the fund. SLGI is responsible for the asset allocation and underlying funds’ selection and monitoring. They may change the underlying funds and allocations over time (and within pre-set guidelines) to take advantage of attractive opportunities or preserve capital.

About Sun Life Multi-Strategy Funds 

Fund name

Description

Sun Life Multi-Strategy Core Plus

The fund seeks to generate return in excess of the FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index on an annual basis. The fund provides exposure to both Canadian and global bonds. The fund may invest up to 40% in global bonds. 

Sun Life Multi-Strategy Canadian Equity

The fund provides exposure across style (both passive and active) and market capitalization (both large and small cap equity).

Sun Life Multi-Strategy Global Equity

The fund provides exposure across style and market capitalization. These include US Equity, International Equity, Emerging Markets Equity and Global Small Cap Equity.

Sun Life Multi-Strategy Real Assets

The fund provides exposure to global listed real assets. These includes infrastructure, Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) and natural resources, including agri-business, clean energy and water. The Fund seeks to provide diversification, inflation protection, and growth potential beyond traditional asset classes.

2. Introduction of a $15/month low balance fee for members with balances less than $15,000, across all products (RRSP, TFSA, and DPSP [if applicable]), after 3-year grace period. The fee won’t be charged to members with a balance of less than $1,000.

On average, members who have SAMS accounts save at lower levels than members in our other group retirement plans. We would like to encourage them to contribute at higher levels and to take full advantage of their group plan. They can also consolidate other assets they have into their SAMS account to take advantage of the low asset-based fees available in their group plan.

SAMS offers members the option of saving in an RRSP or TFSA depending on their savings goals. Increasing their savings in either product can help improve their long-term financial outcomes.

These changes are necessary to ensure that SAMS continues to be a sustainable product option for all plan sponsors that offer the plan to their members.

When will the new fee be charged?

Charges will begin on the first business day of April 2022, using the March month-end balance. The fee will be charged each month to balances that remain under $15,000 across all products for any member who has participated in the plan for more than three years.

Thus, existing members who’ve been in the plan for greater than three years and have a balance less than $15,000 at the end of March 2022, will be charged their first low balance fee in April 2022.

Existing members who’ve been in the plan for less than 3 years will be charged their first low balance fee once they reach 3 years from enrolment.

New members have three years to grow their balance to more than $15,000.  After three years, if their balance is less than $15,000, the low balance fee will apply.

How to avoid the low balance fee?

We’ve recently launched an enhanced digital Asset Consolidation tool on mysunlife.ca. This is an opportunity for plan members to bring their savings to one account taking advantage of the low asset-based fees in their group plan and to avoid paying the low balance fee. Members will be encouraged to access the tool through nudges from Sun Life’s digital coach Ella.

To learn more about the tool, please consult the article Asset Consolidation tool.

3. Changes to the Market Value Adjustment (MVA) rule

Withdrawals of guaranteed funds before maturity have always generated adjustments that reflect changes in the underlying interest-rate environment. We are updating the so-call “market value adjustment” calculation “rule”. The new rule pays “lesser of book value or market value” on most withdrawals. Moving to Sun Life’s standard rule allows us to streamline our operations, and in turn help keep fees competitive.

4. Changes to the Minimum Annuitization Benefit (MAB)

We’ve updated the policy to replace the fixed interest rate guarantee in the current MAB guarantee with an interest rate series that changes with underlying economic conditions. This will eliminate the need to update the basis again in the future. Sun Life is actively rolling this out as a standard to all our Clients. Please refer to section 2.5(b) of the policy on the SAMS website in the ‘Contracts’ section.

Plan Member Communications

We’ll be communicating all the above changes to plan members except for the Minimum Annuitization Benefit via e-mail and/or mailed letter in early September 2021.

Questions?

Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.