Company News

Headrick to lead new venture

By Megan Harman |

Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX:SLF) is expanding its wealth management offerings by launching a new mutual fund company that will make the company’s investment expertise from around the world available to Canadian investors.

The new lineup of mutual funds, which is still being finalized, will incorporate the investment management capabilities of MFS Investment Management, Sun Life’s U.S.-based asset manager, as well as affiliated companies such as McLean Budden and Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company of India, and third party managers.

“This is about being able to bring the best of what we have to offer globally in investment management home to the Canadian investor,” said Rick Headrick, president of the new Toronto-based mutual fund company, in an interview on Thursday. “This really enhances our wealth offering in Canada.”

The new fund line-up will become available in the fall of 2010 through Sun Life Financial advisors, wholesale distribution channel and segregated fund platform for inclusion in group retirement plans.

The new line-up will be in addition to the funds already available to Sun Life advisors through the firm’s ongoing strategic partnership with CI Investments.

Back in 2002, Sun Life sold the bulk of its Canadian mutual fund operations -- Spectrum Investments Inc. and Clarica Diversico Ltd. -- to C.I. Fund Management Inc. in exchange for 30% of the fund company.

Headrick said the new funds will be competitive and innovative compared to the existing mutual funds in the Canadian marketplace.

“Some of the funds that you’ll see are quite different, and that’s a result of our being able to leverage our global strength,” he said. “They really will give the advisors, and their clients, more choice.”

“Establishing a mutual fund company is an important step in Sun Life’s strategy to grow our wealth management business in Canada,” said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada and president of Sun Life Global Investments. “It enhances the offerings of our advisors by providing them with an even broader suite of wealth products for our clients.”

The company considers it a good time to be making these new funds available to Canadian investors since the contributing management teams – including MFS Investment Management and McLean Budden – displayed strong performance throughout the financial crisis, according to Headrick.

“We think the timing is terrific,” he said.

Headrick has more than 10 years of experience in the investment industry. He has been with Sun Life Financial for about six years, most recently as vice-president of Sun Life Global Investments. In that position, he collaborated with investment colleagues across Canada, the U.S. and Asia to encourage investment product development and facilitate the sharing of knowledge across the firm’s investment management community.

He was previously assistant vice-president of investment solutions in the firm’s group retirement services division, where he developed investment solutions and services for group customers.

Prior to joining Sun Life, Headrick led the defined contribution investment consulting practice for Hewitt Associates in Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and LL.B. from the University of Saskatchewan, and holds a Certified Financial Planner designation.