Despite market volatility, Canadians thinking long-term when it comes to retirement savings



    Sun Life Financial report provides snapshot of group retirement landscape

    TORONTO, May 20 /CNW/ - Employees who invest in their company's group
retirement and savings plans are paying more attention to their investments
than ever before, according to Sun Life Financial's InSight, a research report
that provides information on issues that are relevant to the Canadian group
retirement services industry. Although the recent economic downturn had many
plan members contacting their plan providers looking for general education and
investment advice, members were not moving their money any more than they were
a year ago. For the most part, members were holding steady and not making
emotional decisions.
    Data from Sun Life Financial, the leading provider of defined
contribution, group RRSP and Deferred Profit Sharing Plans in Canada, showed a
marked increase in their Customer Care Centre and Plan Member Services website
volume in the latter part of 2008 as employees became more focused on their
savings. Not surprisingly, plan members in their 50s appeared to be the most
engaged in terms of investment inquiries, but they also seemed to be the most
comfortable using the web to find their answers. The report found that four
times as many members in their 50s visited the Plan Member Services website as
those in their 20s.
    "While this economic downturn has had an impact on investments, it's
encouraging to see plan members taking a long-term approach and seeking
assistance through our call centre and website when it comes to their
savings," said Claude Accum, Senior Vice-President, Group Retirement Services,
Sun Life Financial Canada. "Taking advantage of savings programs at your
workplace can play a significant role in a person's overall financial plan."
    The report also detailed the economic impact on plan members'
investments. While the downturn has affected the performance of institutional
and retail funds alike, many plan members are taking advantage of portfolios
that utilize long-established investment mandates and strategies such as
balanced or target date funds. Employees who have access to group saving plans
at work can take advantage of the following benefits:

    
    -   Contributions to employer-sponsored programs are made pre-tax through
        convenient payroll deduction
    -   Fees can be significantly lower than retail mutual fund MERs because
        employers often receive a volume discount through group savings
        programs
    -   Through their employer, employees gain access to a broad set of
        funds, many of which are usually only available to the high net worth
        market
    

    "According to our Unretirement Index(TM), a study conducted last year,
working Canadians of all ages are becoming more risk averse and are looking
for investments that offer some guarantees. It's not a surprise that plan
sponsors are beginning to embrace the concept of guaranteed target date funds,
such as Sun Life's Milestone Funds(R)," said Accum.
    Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services is the leading provider of
group retirement services in Canada serving almost one million plan members.
As of December 31, 2008, Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services had a 34
per cent share of defined contribution plans with CDN$31 billion in assets
under administration.

    About Sun Life Financial

    Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services
organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation
products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in
1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets
worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland,
Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of
March 31, 2009, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets
under management of CDN$375 billion.
    Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and
Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under ticker symbol SLF.





For further information:

For further information: Krista Wilson, Manager, Corporate
Communications, Sun Life Financial Canada, (519) 888-3900 x4896,
Krista.wilson@sunlife.com


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