Explore our milestones

Montage of images representing history of Sun Life
  • 2015

    We celebrate our Sesquicentennial – 150 years since our founding. We take great pride in our heritage and international presence that has enabled us to touch the lives of millions of people around the world, and help them achieve lifetime financial security.

    Building our U.S. business, we announce plans to acquire the Employee Benefits business of Assurant, Inc. The transaction, which closed March 1, 2016, created the sixth largest group benefits business in the U.S. with one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry.

    In asset management, we grow our Sun Life Investment Management business with three acquisitions: Bentall Kennedy, one of North America's largest real estate investment advisors and service providers, and U.S. institutional asset managers Prime Advisors and Ryan Labs

  • 2014

    Sun Life Investment Management Inc. is formed, leveraging Sun Life’s long-standing investment experience to offer private asset class funds and liability driven investment solutions to institutional investors in Canada.

  • 2013

    We enter Malaysia with Sun Life Malaysia Assurance Berhad and Sun Life Malaysia Takaful Berhad, our joint ventures with partners Khazanah Nasional Berhad and CIMB Group Holdings Berhad. Our footprint in Asia now includes 16 companies and six local partners across seven markets in Asia.

    We sell our domestic U.S. annuity business, significantly reducing our risk profile. The company now focuses in the U.S. on its growing group benefits businesses.

  • 2012

    We enter Vietnam through joint venture PVI Sun Life with strong local partner PVI Holdings.

  • 2011

    We expand our Philippine operations by forming the joint venture Sun Life Grepa Financial that distributes insurance through branches of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation nationwide.

    Sun Life Everbright receives regulatory approval in China to establish Sun Life Everbright Insurance Asset Management Company, only the 12th such license issued in China.

  • 2010

    We continue building our brand around the world and acquire the naming rights to Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.

    Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. is launched, bringing to Canadians high quality investment products and solutions by leveraging our relationships with world-class investment managers.

  • 2008

    In the face of the global financial crisis, we remain among the world’s strongest insurance companies and continue building our businesses.

  • 2005

    Sun Life Financial is named to the inaugural list of The Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, by Corporate Knights, for excellence in social, environmental and strategic governance practices, and appears on the list in many subsequent years.

  • 2004

    Our Canadian group retirement services business becomes the leading provider of defined contribution retirement plans in the country by market share, and in 2010 we also become number one in the Canadian group benefits market.

  • 2002

    Sun Life Everbright is granted approval to sell life insurance in Tianjin, China, becoming the first foreign life insurance joint venture to operate in that city and its neighbouring counties.

  • 2001

    In December, Sun Life Financial and Clarica Life Insurance Company announce an agreement to combine operations in a landmark transaction to create a powerhouse in the Canadian marketplace. The merger is completed in 2002 and by year’s end 2003 the operations are fully integrated.

  • 2000

    We demutualize and shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. begin trading on March 23 on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges. Over one million eligible policyholders around the world receive demutualization benefits. To mark our new beginning, we adopt the brand name Sun Life Financial and a new corporate logo that combines the sun and the earth.

  • 1999

    As the insurance market re-opens to foreign companies, we return to India by forming the joint venture Birla Sun Life with the highly respected Aditya V. Birla Group.

    In China, Sun Life joins with well-established local partner the China Everbright Group to form Sun Life Everbright.

  • 1998

    Sun Life opens a services centre in Waterford, Ireland, followed later by service centres in India and the Philippines. They provide technology and business support services to many parts of the company.

  • 1996

    Sun Life establishes Sun Life Financial International, offering products to high-net-worth clients around the world. It is based in Bermuda and has regional offices in Dubai, Panama and Singapore.

  • 1995

    Commencing an era of new expansion in Asia, Sun Life enters the Indonesia market. We operate today as PT Sun Life Financial Indonesia, as well as through joint venture CIMB Sun Life that delivers insurance products to customers of the CIMB Niaga bank nationwide.

    The Philippines Post Office honours our 100-year anniversary in the Philippines with two special-issue Sun Life centennial stamps.

  • 1984

    Construction of Sun Life’s worldwide corporate headquarters is completed at the crossroads of King and University Streets in Toronto. The headquarters will move in 2017 to a new building — One York Street, bringing together our downtown Toronto employees in one location.

  • 1982

    Sun Life acquires Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS), the Boston-based investment management company. MFS “invented” the mutual fund in 1924 and today is a global investment manager with operations in over 20 countries.

  • 1978

    Sun Life policyholders vote to relocate the company’s corporate headquarters from Montreal to Toronto.

  • 1962

    Sun Life becomes a mutual company following a lengthy mutualization process and the buying back of our shares for $65 million in total.

  • 1958

    Sun Life is a pioneer in technology, buying its first computer – a 24 ton Univac II – which sits on a half-acre of space in our head office.

  • 1940- 1945

    World War II – The company’s overseas operations are significantly affected by the war, and in its aftermath we help the families of policyholders by taking special measures to honour claims. Throughout the war, Winston Churchill’s government uses a secret vault three floors beneath our Montreal building to safeguard $5 billion in securities that helped fund Britain’s war effort.

  • 1930s

    We face the challenges of the Great Depression, then, company assets begin rising again in 1936 as world economies begin their recovery.

  • 1925

    Sun Life gives $25,000 to the Banting Research Foundation for the support of medical research including diabetes and insulin, a sizable donation for the time. In 2013, Sun Life commits to the diabetes cause worldwide, granting over $11 million to research, prevention, education and care initiatives.

  • 1919

    Sun Life is the first company in Canada to offer group life insurance, and within a few years we are an important provider of group plans throughout Canada and the United States.

  • 1914

    World War I – Many Sun Life employees contribute to the war effort, the company is among the largest subscribers of War Bonds and they are also sold through the Sun Life sales force.

    In Montreal, construction begins on the landmark building known around the world as The Sun Life Building, one of the finest in the British Empire. Its final phase is completed in 1933, and we employ over 1,600 people today in the distinguished building.

  • 1880s

    Sun Life begins its worldwide expansion, and by 1920 operates in 55 countries. This includes Hong Kong in 1892, the U.K. in 1893, and the Philippines and the U.S. in 1895, where we operate to this day.

  • 1871

    With improved conditions, we commence business as Sun Mutual Life Insurance Company of Montreal, changing our name in 1882 to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada.

  • 1865

    March 18, 1865 – We receive assent from the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada to incorporate a company to conduct the business of insurance. However, unfavourable economic conditions delay plans to move forward.