Winnipeg-based Great-West Lifeco Inc.’s (GWL) earnings surged in the fourth quarter, the company announced on Wednesday.
GWL reported net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $912 million in Q4, up from $513 million a year ago and $826 million the previous quarter.
On Dec. 31, GWL subsidiary Great-West Life & Annuity, through its Empower Retirement business, closed its US$2.3-billion acquisition of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), making Empower Retirement the second-largest retirement services provider in the U.S. based on assets under administration.
GWL’s assets under administration were $2 trillion at the end of Q4, up 21% from a year ago thanks in large part to the MassMutual acquisition.
Also in the quarter, GWL sold GLC Asset Management Group Ltd. (GLC) to Mackenzie Financial Corporation for $143 million and formed its own mutual fund manager, Canada Life Investment Management Ltd.
Net earnings in Canada were $300 million in Q4, up from $188 million a year earlier. GWL attributed the increase to “favourable morbidity” in its group customer business, new business with individual customers and the sale of GLC.
“We are pleased that Lifeco saw a strong close to the year, with excellent progress on integrating acquired businesses and advancing other strategic initiatives undertaken throughout the year,” Paul Mahon, presidents and CEO of GWL, said in a release.