February 24, 2011

Sun Life Financial Offers Its First Fee-based Variable Annuity

WELLESLEY, MA (February 24, 2011) – The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) has launched the Masters®I Share variable annuity, a variable annuity exclusively for the emerging marketplace of independent, fee-based Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). Sun Life is one of five carriers selected to offer variable annuities through the Fee-Based Variable Annuity (FBVA) Platform of LPL Financial, the independent broker-dealer and wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Investment Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LPLA).

“LPL has produced the right platform at the right time,” says Terry Mullen, President of Sun Life Financial Distributors, Inc. (SLFD), the firm’s affiliated broker/dealer and distributor of its variable products. “Volatile securities markets have accelerated investor demand for fee-based advisory services, [1] while a growing number of baby boomers approaching retirement want secure, lifetime income. Contributing to this industry milestone puts Sun Life on the cutting edge of investor-focused solutions.”

Steve Deschenes, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the firm’s U.S. Annuities Division adds, “Expanding our variable annuity suite to the registered independent advisor channel allows us to meet four investor needs in one stroke: a cost effective fee-based model, the desire for guaranteed lifetime income, the opportunity to participate in a possible market upside, and the expertise of active portfolio management at the discretion of the client’s independent advisor.”

Sun Life Financial’s Masters I Share variable annuity meets these needs through:

  • Low-cost option with 0.65% annual insurance fee.
  • No surrender charges.
  • Over 60 investment options from well-known money managers.
  • 0.15% credit to the contract value every year after the contract value or total purchase payments on a contract anniversary exceed(s) $1,000,000. 
  • Option to elect lifetime income with Sun Income AdvisorSM living benefit[2], which guarantees a 7% annual growth in the benefit base (the base on which income is calculated) during the accumulation stage if no withdrawals are taken, and a 5% withdrawal rate beginning at age 65.

Though most independent Registered Investment Advisors have not traditionally offered annuities, SLFD President Mullen sees growth potential. “First, the channel itself is growing. Independent fee-based advisory services represent the wave of the future. Second, since they tend to be early adopters, we expect RIAs to embrace annuities now that they can offer a key retirement income solution through the low-cost, independent fee-based model that their clients value. We are delighted to partner with LPL Financial, and welcome the chance to partner with others.”

A thought leader in the burgeoning field of retirement income planning, and author of the annual Unretirement IndexSM, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $466 billion as of 12/31/10.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations.

As of December 31, 2010, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $466 billion, market capitalization of $17.3 billion, and common shareholders' equity of $16.3 billion. For more information please visit

[1]While other advisor channels stagnated or shrunk, the number of fee-based Registered Investment Advisors grew at an annualized rate of over 8%, to nearly 34,000 in the five years from 2004-2009. Source: Cerulli Associates.
[2] This benefit is available with the Masters I Share variable annuity for an additional cost at the time of application. Sun Income Advisor incurs an annual charge of 0.90% of the benefit base (1.10% for joint life coverage). The cost can decrease or increase at any time, but will never exceed 1.75% annually of the benefit base (1.95% for joint life coverage). Costs are assessed quarterly and deducted from the contract value of the annuity.