Sun Life rolls out replacement for SunWise Elite

By Steven Lamb | September 17, 2010 | Last updated on September 17, 2010
1 min read

Sun Life Financial has teamed up once again with CI Investments to launch SunWise Essential Series, a new suite of seg funds.

The launch of this line will also mark the beginning of the end for the existing SunWise Elite and SunWise Elite Plus products, which will be closed to new investors effective October 15, 2010. (Skip to bottom for details)

The SunWise Elite has in recent years been a bit of a headache for Sun Life. Providers of guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit took a substantial hit in the wake of the 2008 equity market downturn, which left insurers scrambling to meet the guarantees associated with the product.In May 2009, Sun Life increased the required fixed income allocation from 10% to 30% on new contracts within the SunWise Elite Plus program. The move came in reaction to the, which made meeting guarantees somewhat more daunting.

At the time, advisors were less than impressed at the move (Read more).

The new SunWise Essential Series funds are available in three series designed to meet investors’ different life-goals: investing; retirement income; and estate planning.

“Many Canadians are concerned about building their savings and achieving a secure retirement income,” says Kevin Dougherty, president, Sun Life Financial Canada. “The SunWise Essential Series is designed to offer the growth potential of investment funds and guaranteed retirement income, combined with the benefits of an insurance contract, including estate planning advantages and potential creditor protection.”

The Investment Class is aimed at investors who are in the process of building their wealth. Clients opt for up to 100% equity exposure, while the product provides a 75% principal guarantee at death, reduced proportionately by withdrawals.

The Income Class is available to clients over age 65 and offers automatic resets every three years that lock in investment gains and can increase the guarantees. It includes a 5% bonus on the clients’ guaranteed income for every year that they do not make a withdrawal and allows clients to receive a larger payout by starting their income payments at age 70 or later.

The Income Class offers a 100% principal guarantee at death, along with a two-life income stream option, which allows a surviving spouse to continue receiving income in the event of the other spouse’s death.

“SunWise Essential Series Income Class is designed to provide a secure and predictable income in retirement,” said Derek Green, president of CI Investments. “It ensures that Canadians won’t outlive their money and can help them deal with the risks of inflation and market fluctuations before and throughout their retirement.”

The Estate Class is designed to preserve assets for the clients’ heirs, and reduces estate settlement costs and delays. It provides a 100% principal guarantee at death, reduced proportionately by withdrawals.

Investors have a choice of up to 74 funds, depending on the class they choose, and the lineup includes options from CI Investments, Dynamic Funds, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton Investments, TD Asset Management and RBC Global Asset Management.

SunWise Elite details Clients who already hold Class B, Class C, Class B Guaranteed Withdrawal Benefit (GWB) and Class C (GWB) policies can continue to make deposits, with subsequent deposits subject to a $25,000 annual limit, which will take effect on November 1, 2010. All SunWise Elite and SunWise Elite Plus policyholders will continue to be entitled to the features and benefits, including all guarantees, outlined in their contract.


Steven Lamb