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. This fund is established as a segregated fund under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada).
On June 9, 2021, CI Global Asset Management (“CI GAM”) announced the appointment of Marc André Lewis as its Executive Vice President and Head of Investment Management. Lewis will manage CI GAM’s investment talent and oversee investment processes. Lewis has a strong investment background. Most recently, he was the Head of Portfolio Construction at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). ADIA is a sovereign wealth fund with over US$ 600 billion in assets. Prior to joining ADIA, Lewis was Deputy Chief Risk Officer at Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
Effective June 10, 2021, Kevin McSweeney and Allan MacLean-Howard joined the portfolio management team on the CI Canadian Income & Growth fund (the Fund). They replaced Eric Bushell, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and Robert Lyon, Head of Equities, who announced their decision to retire. John Shaw and Geof Marshall remain on the portfolio management team. Shaw and Marshall manage the Investment Grade Bond and High Yield Bond components of the Fund, respectively.
CI GAM noted that the moves are unrelated to the appointment of Lewis. Bushell decided to retire from the industry to spend more time with his family. Lyon was looking to step down due to personal reasons. Bushell remained with the firm until July 5, 2021, while Lyon will leave in the fall of 2021.
Sun Life GRS Investment Solutions’ view
Bushell and Lyon’s departures are a significant loss and negatively impact the continuity and experience on the Fund. Bushell joined CI GAM in 1999 and became CIO of the legacy Signature in 2002. He had stepped away from day to day portfolio management responsibilities in the past several years. However, he remained integral to the macroeconomic analysis and asset allocation of the legacy Signature strategies. Lyon had over 30 years of investment experience. He had the asset mix decision making authority for the Fund. Lyon also performed stock research on the energy and materials sectors.
MacLean-Howard will take over Lyon’s responsibility for the Fund’s asset mix. He will retain his current responsibilities to lead the Asset Allocation Committee and oversee Risk Management for the legacy Signature strategies. McSweeney will be responsible for the construction of the overall equity component within the Fund.
CI GAM has indicated that the Fund’s investment process and style will not change because of the retirements. In addition, there is no change to the equity and fixed income security selection process. The global sector portfolio managers will continue to carry out the security selection function. John Shaw and Geof Marshall provide continuity for the Fund’s fixed income component.
Our biggest concern is the leadership of the Fund, particularly on the equity construction. None of the current portfolio managers have strong experience in equity. MacLean-Howard’s experience has been in the asset allocation and risk management processes. McSweeney experience in equity started in 2016. His previous experience was on infrastructure and REIT’s.
In February 2021, we put the Fund on our Watch List under the Additional Monitoring category. The addition to this category is due to the CI GAM restructuring (please refer to GRS Matters article here). Following Bushell’s and Lyon’s retirements, we have now placed the Fund under the On Watch category.
We will continue to monitor the Fund in upcoming quarters and will provide updates as necessary.
Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.