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Manulife Financial Corp. reported higher profits for the first quarter of 2022, while fellow insurer Sun Life Financial Inc. saw its earnings decline.

Manulife said Wednesday that it earned $3 billion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of $2.2 billion from the same quarter of 2021.

The Toronto-based insurer and financial services company said the profit works out to $1.50 per diluted share, compared to 38 cents in the previous year’s quarter.

Manulife said the increase in net income was driven by gains from the direct impact of markets compared to losses in the prior quarter, as well as investment-related experience and higher-than-expected returns on alternative long-duration assets.

Core earnings were $1.6 billion, down 4% year over year in part due to lower new business gains in Asia.

In Asia, new business value decreased 28% in the quarter to $340 million.

Annual premium equivalent sales decreased 17% in Asia due to continued adverse impacts from Covid-19 in Hong Kong and several other markets.

In Canada, new business value of $104 million was up 33% from the first quarter of last year, driven by higher margins across all business lines, the shareholder report said.

Annual premium equivalent sales in Canada increased 2% compared with the first quarter of 2021, primarily driven by increased customer demand for lower risk segregated fund products and higher mid-size group insurance sales, and partially offset by variability in the large-case group insurance market, the report said.

Assets under management and administration at March 31 were $1.3 trillion, a 4% decrease from the previous quarter.

The decrease was attributed mostly to the impact of higher interest rates and lower equity markets, partially offset by net inflows in the quarter, the shareholder report said.

Sun Life earnings

Sun Life Financial Inc. said it earned $858 million in the first quarter of this year, down 8% from the $937 million it earned in the first quarter of 2021.

The Toronto-based insurer said its earnings per share for the period ended March 31 work out to $1.46, down from $1.59 per share in the same period of 2021.

Sun Life’s insurance sales in the quarter were $799 million, up from $730 million in the prior year’s quarter.

For its Canadian business segment, Sun Life Financial Inc. reported net income of $263 million, down 35% from 2021.

It attributed the reduction to changes in interest rates and lower equity markets, partially offset by an increase in the value of real estate investments.

Canadian insurance sales were $332 million, up 42% year over year, driven by large-case group benefits sales, the shareholder report said.

Canadian wealth sales were $5 billion, up 11% driven by defined contribution sales in Group Retirement Services partially offset by individual wealth sales.

Total assets under management were up slightly year over year to $1.35 trillion, and down 6% from the previous quarter driven in part by unfavourable market movements.

Sun Life increased its dividend Wednesday by three cents per share to 69 cents per share, payable June 30, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 1.