Citing increasingly diversified earnings, among other positive factors, DBRS Inc. has upgraded its rating of Sun Life Financial Inc.
The Toronto-based rating agency raised its grade for Sun Life Financial to A (high) from A.
A report detailing the move points to the company’s improved franchise strength, more diversified earnings and strong capital position.
In particular, DBRS says that asset management is now generating about 30% of Sun Life Financial’s net income, boosting its non-insurance business diversification. Canadian operations are generating over 35% of net income, with the operations in Asia and the U.S. each contributing about 15% to 20%.
“[Sun Life] remains focused on further building out its market-leading positions in Canada, growing the company’s market presence in several segments of the U.S. employee benefits market, expanding in Asia and growing its already substantial asset management businesses organically or through acquisitions,” the report says.
DBRS says that it has also “gained comfort” from the company’s efforts to improve the performance of its legacy U.S. individual life block, reducing the probability that it will adversely impact Sun Life’s results.
Looking ahead, DBRS says that its ratings for Sun Life could see further positive pressure from more diversification and improving asset quality. Conversely, the ratings could come under negative pressure if its core Canadian business suffers a sustained earnings decline, or “an adverse event” hits the company’s regulatory capital.