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).
On June 28, 2021, SLGI Asset Management Inc. (SLGI) announced that Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Sadiq Adatia is leaving the firm on July 9, 2021. In addition to his CIO role, Adatia was the Chair of SLGI’s Investment Committee that makes investment decisions for all the multi-manager SLGI funds, including the Granite multi-manager target date and target risk series. Adatia is joining BMO Asset Management as CIO.
SLGI’s Investment Committee will continue to be responsible for all strategic and tactical decisions. The portfolio management team will continue to apply a similar philosophy, process and approach. The Investment Committee is supported by six other investment professionals in portfolio management, investment research, and analytical roles.
Chhad Aul (VP, Portfolio Management) will become Chair of the Investment Committee. Aul joined SLGI in 2014 and has 17 years of investment experience. Aul will report to Oricia Smith, who joined Sun Life in 2016 and became President of SLGI and Senior Vice-President, Investment Solutions, Sun Life Canada, in March 2021. In addition to Aul, Kathrin Forrest (VP, Portfolio Management) and Christine Tan (AVP, Portfolio Management) will continue to serve as members of the Investment Committee.
Adatia joined SLGI in 2011 and was integral to the development of the Granite funds and the growth of SLGI’s assets under management. While the Investment Committee made decisions by consensus, as CIO and committee Chair, Adatia had ultimate decision-making authority for all SLGI strategies. This decision-making authority will transfer to Aul as the new Chair.
Following Adatia’s decision to leave SLGI, the firm conducted a compensation review for the key remaining team of portfolio managers (Aul, Forrest and Tan) and made adjustments against additional responsibilities the team would be taking on. SLGI will evaluate the talent and structure of the investment team over the summer months, before making decisions on what resources it will need to add and whether the role of a CIO is ultimately replaced.
Sun Life GRS Investment Solutions Team View
The loss of Adatia as the firm’s CIO is significant, and the transition period to the remaining team is relatively short. Adatia was SLGI’s most seasoned investor and his 25+ year investment career has included leadership roles at a large national consulting firm and an investment manager. Adatia has been the key spokesperson of SLGI, appearing frequently as part of investment industry and market updates, in addition to his regular appearances on television.
SLGI has increased the depth of talent and experience supporting Adatia over the past decade. Aul and Forrest each have 17 years of investment experience and tenures at SLGI of seven and five years, respectively. They have been participating in all strategic and tactical asset allocation decisions and will keep these responsibilities going forward. We expect Forrest will continue to focus on manager research and fund selection, which has been the primary source of value added for SLGI’s Granite funds over the long-term. Forrest is an experienced investment professional, who has focused on manager selection and monitoring, across a variety of asset classes. Aul will focus on tactical positioning. Tan has joined SLGI in 2018 as primarily an Emerging Markets specialist. Tan has experience in several other asset classes as well and is also a voting member of the Investment Committee.
In addition to the compensation review and adjustments made to the three portfolio managers (Aul, Forrest and Tan), we believe that they now each have an opportunity to broaden their responsibilities. These two factors may have a positive effect for retention of key investment talent.
We have placed all SLGI multi-manager strategies, including Granite target date and target risk series, on our Watch List, under the Additional Monitoring category. We’ll continue to monitor SLGI closely as they transition to new investment leadership and monitor for the firm’s ability to retain and attract investment talent.
We don’t expect Adatia’s departure to have any material impact on SLGI’s single sub-advisor mandates on Sun Life’s core platform. That’s because the remaining team had significant influence on the selection of sub-advisors for single-mandate funds.
Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.