RSS - Comments Disclaimer David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong.
There were several numbers that were particularly interesting to me, in some instances because they illustrated points I have been making over time about Sun Life's operations in Canada and elsewhere.
These points were made while I was working at Sun and more recently in columns posted on RickardsRead. It does not seem adequately appreciated by many among the financial services paparazzi who 'follow' Sun Life for the market and the financial media that Sun enjoys an advantage over its major Canadian-based 'international' rivals Manulife and Great-West.
Sun has a proportionately large, reliable and very profitable Canadian operation as a foundation for its worldwide operations, one on which it can and has relied. It has been there, to Sun's great financial benefit, while it has pursued with decidedly mixed results its international activity in the U.
I emphasized in Sun Life internal discussion in which I participated as well as in these columns the importance to Sun Life of its Canadian Individual business unit's operation, particularly the career agency system distribution system it acquired when it bought Clarica Life formerly the Mutual Life of Canada and the need to invest in it.
Sun Life itself beginning in the s had, in its Canadian operation, gradually consigned its own career agency system to extinction -- although admittedly it did not have a top tier career system.
How important is the career distribution system in the current success of Sun's Canadian operation? In selecting numbers to illustrate its operations Sun Life occasionally mixes apples and kumquats.
Yet in listing its "advisors worldwide" Sun is pleased to show all the agents attributed to Birla Sun Life in India: A very large number although far less important than it may seem if one is thinking of this huge agency contingent in terms of it being comprised of career agents in the sense of Sun's Canadian career system.
I do not doubt that thousands of sales people do indeed flow into Birla every month as surely as thousands flow out. A footnote about agent retention rates for those both in and out of the industry i.
These year agent retention rates are not, as some industry critics have long misunderstood them, a measurement of people who enter and then leave the business of selling life insurance -- although many will have.
At the end of Dec. It was a timely and a very smart move by Sun for a number of reasons, not least because of the kind of problems Scotiabank is now having with CI.
Sun Life had acquired its substantial interest in CI approx. The strong push by CI for mutual fund sales from Sun agents embraced among other things an ongoing major promotional effort conducted by CI with Sun agents, often in Sun's agency branch offices a presence and activity which Sun's agency managers were not allowed by Sun to limit or effectively manage in the interests of higher life insurance sales.
All this CI activity and its increase in mutual fund sales by Sun agents came at a price to Sun which its senior non- agency executives either never seemed able to understand or chose to ignore.
Part of that price was a lower level of individual life insurance sales than would otherwise have come to Sun. It was, therefore, no mystery that the effect created by CI's promotional, incentive and compensation approach with Sun agents had a distracting and negative effect on the sale of Sun's own individual life insurance products from which Sun, as the manufacturer and distributor, derives all the benefit.
And what did Sun get by way of non-dividend annual returns from CI Financial in exchange for access to a large, national and proprietary sales force that CI on its best day could otherwise never dreamed of having? Far too little for far too long.
In terms of distribution fees, for example:Why Need of Buying Life Insurance? It acts as a financial net for an eventuality linked with human life, such as retirement, disability, accident, death, etc.
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