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. It is established as a segregated fund under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada).

Effective June 30, 2021, David Pearl, Co-Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Epoch Investment Partners, Inc. (Epoch) and a co-portfolio manager on the CI American Value fund (the fund), is retiring. Epoch will add Justin Howell as a portfolio manager to the fund. He joins Bill Priest, Executive Chairman, Co-CIO, and Portfolio Manager, and Mike Welhoelter, Managing Director, Co-CIO, Portfolio Manager, and Head of Risk Management. Priest, Bill Booth, and Welhoelter will continue to lead the investment team as co-CIOs.

Howell will be the primary investment professional managing the fund. In addition, he’ll be devoting 100% of his time to portfolio management. Stephen Salzone, Director, Research Analyst, will join Howell on the fund.

These changes won’t affect the fund’s objectives, investment philosophy or investment process.

Our view

David Pearl has 36 years of investment experience. His retirement will be a loss for the firm and the strategy. Justin Howell will have primary responsibility for managing the fund going forward. He has 18 years of investment experience, including portfolio management experience on Epoch’s U.S. Small/SMID and US All-Cap strategies. Co-portfolio manager Bill Priest’s 50+ years of investment experience will help to cushion the loss. However, he has many responsibilities within the firm. His involvement on the fund on a day-to-day basis is unlikely for this reason.

Co-portfolio manager Mike Welhoelter has 33 years of experience focused on quantitative analysis and risk management. He’ll support the strategy from a risk and quantitative perspective, but won’t contribute to security selection. Justin Howell currently manages the CI American Small Companies Portfolio along side Mike Welhoelter.  As a result, he’ll already have built a working rapport with him. 

Sun Life’s GRS Investment Solutions team designated the CI American Value fund as “Additional Monitoring” on our Watch List in Q1 2021. Effective December 1, 2015, Sun Life no longer markets this fund as part of the core investment platform. Governance for the fund continues at this time, but we plan to review this. We will meet with CI Global Asset Management and Epoch in the spring of 2021. At this time, we’ll discuss the potential impact of these changes to the portfolio and strategy. Our team will continue to monitor the fund and will provide updates if required.


Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.