Sun Life Financial has announced plans to acquire Bentall Kennedy Group – a $560-million deal slated to close in the third quarter of 2015. The agreement will significantly expand Sun Life’s institutional investment management arm, adding in Bentall Kennedy’s portfolio of 132 million square feet of commercial, industrial and multi-residential real estate currently under management in Canada and the United States. The newly emerging entity will boast $47 billion in assets under management for more than 550 institutional clients and investors.
“The purchase of Bentall Kennedy complements Sun Life Investment Management’s expertise in asset-liability management, fixed income and alternative asset classes by extending our real estate and mortgage investment capabilities,” says Steve Peacher, president, Sun Life Investment Management, and chief investment officer, Sun Life Financial.
Bentall Kennedy will retain its name and continue to operate under its current team, with Gary Whitelaw joining Sun Life Management as group chief executive officer, Bentall Kennedy Group. Bentall Kennedy’s Canadian division has a 100-year history and currently manages 91 million square feet of property valued at $15 billion. Together with its U.S. operations, the company employs 1,400 people and has principal offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle.
“My colleagues and I are excited to take this next step in our evolution,” Whitelaw reports. “Sun Life is a strong, highly regarded and extremely well run financial services organization. We share a deep commitment to investment management as a core business. This combination enables Bentall Kennedy to further advance its mission to stand apart for exceptional client service and high performance culture, all with a strong commitment to environmental, social, governance and responsible property investment principles.
Sun Life Investment Management was launched in April 2014 to serve the Canadian defined benefit pension plan market and entered the U.S. market earlier this year through the purchase of New York-based asset manager, Ryan Labs Asset Management. It invests in public fixed income, private debt, commercial mortgage and real estate across North America and in Asia, and manages more than $133 billion in general accounts assets worldwide for the Sun Life Financial group of companies.
“The acquisition of Bentall Kennedy is a perfect fit with Sun Life’s four-pillar strategy,” says Dean Connor, chief executive officer, Sun Life Financial. “It expands and diversifies our asset management pillar with one of the most respected names in real estate.”
Photo: Steve Peacher and Gary Whitelaw