Sun Life sees Asia M&A spree paying off

The Canadian insurer has spent C$1 billion on M&A in Asia since 2012 – now its regional CEO sees the deals boosting ROE to double digits in three to five years.

Soon after Sun Life Financial’s Asia president, Kevin Strain, arrived in the region in 2012 he was on the acquisition trail. Five years later and he’s looking to reap a return on his investments.

The Toronto-based firm competed fiercely for a Malaysian insurer in 2012 against some of its biggest rivals including Britain’s Prudential, cross-town rival Manulife and Hong Kong-listed AIA.
It won, but it paid a steep price of US$596 million, or about 2.9 times book value.

“We pushed ourselves pretty hard on that acquisition, and it’s paid off. It’s way, way ahead of any business case we would have put...

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