Great-West Lifeco subsidiary acquires payout annuity block in the United Kingdom

TSX:GWO

Readers are referred to the cautionary notes regarding Forward-Looking Information and Non-IFRS Financial Measures at the end of this release. All figures are expressed in Canadian dollars, except as noted.

WINNIPEG, March 3, 2015 /CNW/ - Great-West Lifeco Inc. today announced that its wholly-owned U.K. subsidiary, Canada Life Limited (Canada Life), has reached an agreement with The Equitable Life Assurance Society (Equitable Life) in the U.K. to acquire the assets and liabilities associated with Equitable Life's annuity business.

The transaction involves the acquisition of approximately 31,000 policies, having liabilities and supporting assets with an approximate value at December 31, 2014 of $1.69 billion (£875 million). The assets and liabilities are being initially transferred via indemnity reinsurance effective January 1, 2015. This will be followed by a formal transfer of assets and liabilities via a court sanctioned process that is expected to occur by the end of 2015.

"Great-West Lifeco continues to grow organically and through acquisitions in its target segments," said Paul Mahon, Great-West Lifeco President and CEO.  "This announcement regarding a transfer of payout annuity assets and liabilities from Equitable Life to Canada Life during 2015 complements our ongoing U.K. strategy.  We continue to look for opportunities to grow our overall U.K. business, and in particular, to respond to the changes in pension legislation last April."

Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO) is an international financial services holding company with interests in life insurance, health insurance, retirement and investment services, asset management and reinsurance businesses.  Great-West Lifeco has operations in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia through Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Irish Life, Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments.  Great-West Lifeco and its companies have approximately $1.1 trillion in assets under administration and are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies.
*assets as of December 31, 2014

Cautionary note regarding Forward-Looking Information
This release contains some forward-looking statements about the Company, including its business operations, strategy and expected financial performance and condition.  Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or include words such as "expects", "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "believes", "estimates" and similar expressions or negative versions thereof.  In addition, any statement that may be made concerning future financial performance (including revenues, earnings or growth rates), ongoing business strategies or prospects, and possible future actions by the Company, including statements made with respect to the expected benefits of acquisitions and divestitures, are also forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements are based on expectations and projections about future events that were current at the time of the statements and are inherently subject to, among other things, risks, uncertainties and assumptions about the Company, economic factors and the financial services industry generally, including the insurance and mutual fund industries.  They are not guarantees of future performance, and actual events and results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements.  Material factors and assumptions that were applied in formulating the forward-looking information contained herein include the assumption that the business and economic conditions affecting the Company's operations will continue substantially in their current state, including, without limitation, with respect to market prices for products provided, sales levels, premium income, fee income, expense levels, mortality experience, morbidity experience, policy lapse rates, taxes, inflation, information systems, general economic, political and market factors in North America and internationally, interest and foreign exchange rates, global equity and capital markets, business competition, continuity and availability of personnel and third party service providers, the Company's ability to complete strategic transactions and integrate acquisitions and that there will be no unplanned material changes to the Company's facilities, customer and employee relations or credit arrangements.  Many of these assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of the Company and there is no assurance that they will prove to be correct.  Other important factors and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements include technological change, investment values, payments required under investment products, reinsurance, changes in local and international laws and regulations, changes in accounting policies and the effect of applying future accounting policy changes, unexpected judicial or regulatory proceedings and catastrophic events.  The reader is cautioned that the foregoing list of assumptions and factors is not exhaustive, and there may be other factors listed in other filings with securities regulators, including factors set out in this MD&A under "Risk Management and Control Practices" and "Summary of Critical Accounting Estimates", which, along with other filings, is available for review at www.sedar.com.  The reader is also cautioned to consider these and other factors carefully and not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.  Other than as specifically required by applicable law, the Company does not intend to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Cautionary note regarding Non-IFRS Financial Measures
This release contains some non-IFRS financial measures. Terms by which non-IFRS financial measures are identified include, but are not limited to, "operating earnings", "constant currency basis", "premiums and deposits", "sales" and other similar expressions.  Non-IFRS financial measures are used to provide management and investors with additional measures of performance to help assess results where no comparable IFRS measure exists. However, non-IFRS financial measures do not have standard meanings prescribed by IFRS and are not directly comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Please refer to the appropriate reconciliations of these non-IFRS financial measures to measures prescribed by IFRS.

SOURCE Great-West Lifeco Inc.

For further information: Marlene Klassen, APR, Assistant Vice-President, Media & Public Relations, 204 946-7705

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