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Great-West Lifeco Inc. says its financial results in the first quarter align with the firm’s objectives and reflect its resilience amid a challenging environment.

Net earnings of $770 million and base earnings of $809 million were both up by 9% compared to the same period in 2021, the Winnipeg-based insurer reported.

Despite the “challenging macroeconomic backdrop,” the quarterly results were “in line with our medium-term objectives, and reflect the strength, resiliency and diversification in our business,” said Paul Mahon, president and CEO of Great-West Lifeco, in a release.

Base earnings per common share of $0.87 increased by 9% from $0.80 a year ago. Fee income benefited from higher average equities markets across all jurisdictions, compared to the first quarter of 2021, the firm said. Further, mortality experience overall improved from last year.

Net earnings per share were $0.83, up from $0.76 a year ago.

Assets under administration were about $2.2 trillion at March 31, 2022 — a decrease of 4% from the previous quarter. Higher interest rates, generally downward equities market movements and the strengthening of the Canadian dollar negatively impacted asset values, the insurer said.

In the insurer’s Canada segment, wealth management net cash inflows were $714 million compared to $19 million for the same quarter last year. The increase was primarily due to the loss of an institutional mandate in the first quarter of 2021, the insurer said.

Sales in the segment were $4.3 billion, a decrease of $0.4 billion compared to the same quarter last year. The decrease was primarily due to lower large case group wealth and insurance sales as well as lower individual mutual fund sales, the insurer said.

The insurer also noted the amalgamation earlier this year of Excel Private Wealth Inc. and Quadrus Investment Services Inc.

“The amalgamation into one dealer will ensure consistent processes and controls, including new processes associated with the implementation of the client-focused reforms,” the insurer said.