Winnipeg-based Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX: GWO) has announced that its wholly-owned U.K. subsidiary, Canada Life Ltd. (Canada Life), has reached an agreement with the Equitable Life Assurance Society (Equitable Life) in the U.K. to acquire the assets and liabilities associated with Equitable Life’s annuity business.

The transaction involves the acquisition of approximately 31,000 policies, which have liabilities and supporting assets with an approximate value of $1.69 billion (Cdn.), as of Dec. 31, 2014.

“Great-West Lifeco continues to grow organically and through acquisitions in its target segments,” said Paul Mahon, Great-West Lifeco president and chief executive officer. “This announcement regarding a transfer of payout annuity assets and liabilities from Equitable Life to Canada Life during 2015 complements our ongoing U.K. strategy.”

The assets and liabilities are being initially transferred via indemnity reinsurance effective January 1, 2015; to be followed by a formal transfer of assets and liabilities through a court sanctioned process that is expected to occur by the end of 2015.