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Press Release

Willis Towers Watson advises on CA$1.8 billion annuity transaction involving Sun Life, iA Financial Group and Brookfield Annuity

April 7, 2021


TORONTO, ON, April 7, 2021 — Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, in collaboration with Sun Life, iA Financial Group and Brookfield Annuity, today announced a group annuity buy-out transaction of CA$1.8 billion for over 6,000 members of the General Motors of Canada Company salaried pension plan who retired prior to June 1, 2020.

Marco Dickner, Retirement Risk Management Leader, Canada, at Willis Towers Watson, said “This deal is ground-breaking because it demonstrates that Canadian insurers can now effectively meet plan sponsors’ needs for jumbo transactions, a milestone in the evolution of pension risk transfers in Canada.”

Brent Simmons, Head of Defined Benefit Solutions at Sun Life, added “We’ve finally cracked the CA$1 billion mark for a single insurer in a single day with Sun Life’s CA$1.1B share of the deal.”

iA Financial Group’s share is CA$0.6 billion while Brookfield Annuity covers CA$0.1 billion.

Éric Jobin, Executive Vice President, Group Benefits and Retirement Solutions, iA Financial Group, said “This deal is historic for the Canadian industry as it highlights our capacity to support clients of all sizes and help them to transfer risks through the purchase of annuities.”

Paul Forestell, President & CEO, Brookfield Annuity, added that “This transaction demonstrates our ability as an insurer to collaborate on creative solutions that help employers provide increased benefit security and peace of mind for their annuitants.”

Under an annuity buy-out, an insurance company assumes responsibility for making pension payments to plan members in exchange for a premium from the pension plan sponsor. This group annuity transaction involves the largest asset in-kind transfer in Canadian history. In this arrangement, most of the pension plan investments were not sold but transferred to the insurance partners in kind.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,247 billion. For more information, please visit Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Sun Life’s Defined Benefit Solutions is a team of experienced pension and investment professionals, whose mandate is to help Canadian companies manage the risks of their defined benefit pension plans. The team works closely with plan sponsors, consultants and other industry experts to deliver innovative and customized solutions.

About iA Financial Group

Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management companies in Canada. It also operates in the United States. Its stock is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols IAG (common shares) and IAF (preferred shares). As of December 31, 2020, iA Financial Group had total assets under management of $197.5 billion. For more information, please visit

iA Financial Group is one of the fastest growing companies in the single premium annuities purchase market in Canada. Backed by over 60 years of experience, iA Financial Group is an industry leader when it comes to group retirement plans. Our clients from across Canada count on our extensive experience in the administration of group retirement plans, in asset management for defined benefit plans and for pension benefit payment services.

About Brookfield Annuity

Brookfield Annuity Company is the only Canadian life insurance company that is primarily focused on providing group annuity solutions to Defined Benefit pension plans. We are wholly owned by Brookfield Asset Management, a leading global alternative asset manager.

Brookfield Annuity is licensed in Canada and regulated by the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. We are also a member of Assuris, a not-for-profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders if their life insurance company should fail.

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