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 funds listed below. They are established as segregated funds under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada).

Jarislowsky Fraser (JF) recently announced that Bernard Gauthier, Co-Lead Portfolio Manager (PM) on the JF Canadian Equity Fund, would retire on May 31, 2024. Gauthier had been a PM on JF Canadian Equity since 2014. JF Canadian Equity is also an underlying fund within the JF Balanced and JF Global Balanced Funds.

Gauthier was also a member of the Investment Strategy Committee (ISC). JF has no current plans to replace Gauthier on the ISC. It will therefore drop from six to five members. The ISC must approve all securities added to JF strategies, including JF Canadian Equity, JF Balanced and JF Global Balanced.

Charles Nadim will now become the sole Lead PM on the JF Canadian Equity Fund. Nadim has managed the JF Canadian Equity Fund since 2008 and has primary responsibility for portfolio construction. Nadim is also Head of Research and a member of the ISC.

Two Associate PMs will support Nadim: Drew Callander and Colin McPherson. Callander joined JF in 2004 and the Canadian equities team in 2008. He has been an Associate PM since 2022. JF promoted McPherson to Associate PM when they announced Gauthier’s retirement.

Sun Life GRS Investment Solutions’ view

Gauthier’s retirement is a loss for JF. He was the most experienced member of the Equities team and a leader within JF. However, JF has not experienced any significant senior investment professional departure in several years. For the Canadian equity team, there has not been a senior investment personnel departure since Helen Beck (Head of Canadian Equities) in 2014. Nadim’s ongoing presence provides us with a significant comfort.

It appears that JF made the decision to hire Financials research analyst Colin McPherson in 2022 with succession planning for Gauthier in mind. The change from two Co-Lead PMs and one Associate PM to one Lead PM and two Associate PMs maintains a three-person structure, but places more responsibility on Nadim. The unique role of the ISC in evaluating and approving all buy and sell decisions ensures other senior investment leaders within JF have influence on the Canadian Equity strategy.

We plan to meet with JF to re-evaluate the team. We have met Charles Nadim many times and have confidence in his abilities. We will therefore focus our governance efforts on familiarizing with the Associate PMs (Drew Callander and Colin McPherson). We have placed JF Canadian Equity, JF Balanced and JF Global Balanced on Additional Monitoring (least severe category) in the GRS Investment Solutions Watch List. We’ll provide further updates as needed.

Questions?

Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.