Sun Life Admits Seeking Outside Advice about MFS

September 18, 2006 ( - Toronto-based insurer Sun Life Financial Inc. said Monday it has hired Morgan Stanley to advise it on a possible deal that could involve selling its Boston-based fund manager MFS Investment Management.

Nothing is definite, but Reuters reported that the deal might involve selling MFS for a stake in a larger company.

“Sun Life Financial continually reviews the performance of all its businesses to deliver and grow shareholder value,” the insurer said in a news release, about the speculation. “The Company values MFS as a strategic asset and remains committed to growing the business organically while assessing strategic alternatives.”

In the news release, Sun Life said it was assured that the management at MFS, a company with $168 billion in assets under management as of June, is working hard to grow, “including expanding distribution and research globally, and improving performance and profit margins.”

According to Reuters, recent events might have foreshadowed such a decision by Sun Life, such as the company’s longtime president and CEO Jim Prieur leaving in August after 27 years to head Conseco Inc. The move prompted speculation about a possible sale of MFS or perhaps a merger with another US asset manager, the wire service reported.