The Canadian mutual fund industry is widely regarded as a mature market, where growth in market-share comes slowly, if at all. If you’re rolling out a new lineup, you’d better have an ace up your sleeve.
In the case of the newest entrant, Sun Life Global Investments, a career sales force might do the trick.
“Sun Life has a very strong brand. We believe that Canadians want to work with a trusted company and trusted advisors,” says Vic Kazazian, senior vice-president, career sales force, Sun Life. “The career sales force is a huge advisor organization and that positions us well in the marketplace.”
Not long ago, building “a moat” around the client was touted as the key business strategy for advisors. The new line of mutual funds is Sun Life’s effort to emulate that model.
“Whether it’s to protect their assets or their families, to save for retirement, or (generate) income post-retirement; at every life stage we want to have the right solutions for clients,” says Kazazian.
The immediate focus of SLGI is to build up the mutual fund business, but Kazazian does not rule out using the funds as the investment mandates for segregated funds down the road.
“As a company, we have some unique capabilities,” he says, pointing to Sun Life’s ownership stake in MFS Investment Management. “It’s quite a large mutual fund organization with 180 professionals in 80 countries. They have tremendous expertise that we believe would be of great value to the Canadian marketplace.”
The initial lineup of 12 funds includes four target-date funds — under the Milestones banner — with the first maturing in June 2020.
“Over the next 10 years you’re going to have the big wave of baby boomers retiring,” says Kazazian, explaining why 2020 was chosen as the first maturity date. The 2035 product caters to the generation that follows.
“Over the next 20 years, you’re going to have about $1.2 trillion moving.”
Sun Life Global Investments hosted a gala launch party on Wednesday night, with events coordinated between five cities across the country. In Toronto alone, there were over 300 in attendance, including 175 advisors.
For a list of the initial 12 funds being offered, click here.