Sun Life CEO Bets on Private Loans: Corporate Canada

Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF), the second-largest group-benefits provider in North America, is financing toll roads and bridges to boost investment income and counter lower yields on publicly traded debt.

The private loans are typically as much as C$250 million ($243 million), Sun Life Chief Executive Officer Dean Connor said in a March 8 interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The Toronto-based insurer is looking for investments that give it more of a spread, the difference in yield over Canadian Treasuries.

“They’re individually negotiated, very spready assets,” Connor said. “There aren’t many people in Canada originating these deals.”

Connor, 56, who took over the top spot at Sun Life in December 2011, is focusing on what he calls “four pillars of growth” — insurance in Canada; group coverage and voluntary benefits in the U.S.; asset management; and expansion in Asia. He said private loans can bolster results...

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