Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its rating on Sun Life Financial’s preferred stock following the closing of the sale of the firm’s U.S. subsidiary.
The rating agency upgraded Sun Life Financial Inc.’s preferred stock rating to Baa2 from Baa3, affirmed its other ratings on the company’s debt, and moved its outlook to stable from negative. It notes that the rating actions follow today’s announcement that Sun Life has now closed the sale of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (U.S.) to a company owned by shareholders of Guggenheim Partners, LLC.
Moody’s said the upgrade of SLF’s preferred stock rating was driven by “the completion of the sale of the lower-rated and more volatile Sun Life U.S. subsidiary”.
“The completed transaction is positive to the credit profile of SLF as it eliminates the group’s exposure to the chronically poor earnings performance of the U.S. subsidiary, the possibility of future charges associated with the U.S. subsidiary’s business, as well as the equity market and interest rate sensitivity of the run-off businesses including variable and fixed annuities,” it says.
The move to a stable outlook on the ratings also reflects the fact that “the U.S. subsidiary is no longer a potential threat to the credit profile of the group,” Moody’s says, adding that it also alleviates its concerns “related to the execution risks of the runoff strategy for the U.S. subsidiary and that any further charges arising from Sun Life U.S.’s closed blocks would remain a drag on [its] earnings and capital generation.”