Sun Life does not need to make acquisitions to drive growth -CEO

Wed May 11, 2016 12:41pm EDT
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TORONTO May 11 (Reuters) - Canada's third biggest life insurer Sun Life Financial Inc does not need to make acquisitions to drive future growth and is focusing on developing existing businesses, its chief executive said.

The company has made several acquisitions over the past three years, especially in Asia, as it looks to stimulate growth and offset the impact of a low interest rate environment.

However, CEO Dean Connor said on Wednesday that Sun Life's first priority was now to focus on organic growth through a "four pillar strategy" incorporating its businesses in Canada, the United States, Asia and in asset management.

"I'd say we don't need to make acquisitions because we think we are building scale in all four pillars," Connor told reporters after the bank's annual meeting.

Sun Life on Tuesday reported a 13 percent increase in underlying net income in the first quarter.

A key driver of growth has been expansion in Asia, where Sun Life is providing services to the region's burgeoning middle class demographic. The company currently operates in seven Asian countries including China, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

"Job 1 is to get larger in those 7 markets. I think we can do that organically. That's not to say we won't move into an 8th or 9th but that's not our first priority," Connor said. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Chris Reese)