Sun Life sees Phl as Asian model for best practices

MANILA, Philippines - Sun Life Financial Inc. views the Philippines as a center of best practices, which could be “exported” to other areas in Asia where the insurance and financial giant also operates.

Sun Life Financial Inc. chief executive officer Donald A. Stewart said in an exclusive interview that the Philippines is a key market which can provide financial and intellectual capital for the rest of Asia.

“Some things that are done in the Philippines we consider as best practices, which we can export to other operations in the region,” said Stewart, who was in the Philippines for the formal opening of the Sun Life Center in Taguig recently.

“There are a lot of dimensions in the potentials existing in our Philippine operations,” he added.

The opening of the Sun Life Center marks the Philippines as a potential secondary regional center for certain services such as financial, information technology, and trainings. Presently, Sun Life’s main regional center is in Hong Kong, which serves as hubs-and-spokes to the rest of Asia.

The Philippines is viewed as displaying expertise in technical of the financial and insurance sector, and it has capable engineers also in the information technology (IT) sense, as evidenced by the fast growth in the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Two other potentials are the overseas and migrant Filipinos and the mobile phone technology.

Stewart said that Sun Life is looking for easier ways to protect the migrant Filipino and his beneficiaries in the Philippines. He is also viewing the potential of utilizing the mobile phone as a tool for both attracting business as well as doing business. That may include acquiring a life insurance policy as well as the payment process.

Meanwhile, the immediate task at hand according to the chief executive for the joint venture between Sun Life Financial Philippines and the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) is to make it work and exploit its potentials.

“Making the joint venture a success is the first thing, then look for other opportunities beyond the point of entry,” the Sin Life Financial chief executive added.

Likewise, Sun Life is always open to opportunities in terms of expanding, including acquiring other life insurance firms or the faster route of buying portfolios.

Sun Life Financial is the parent company of Sun Life Financial Philippines. The Canada-based insurance and financial giant reported market capital of C$17 billion, and assets under management of C$464 billion.

Sun Life Financial Philippines, meanwhile, was ranked second best overall in the country’s life insurance industry. It was the leader for two consecutive years or in 2009 and 2010, in terms of new business.

At the end of 2010, the Philippine operations of Sun Life Financial reported P10.6 billion in total premiums, and P9.5 billion in 2009.

It also has a solid footprint in China, India and Indonesia.

In China, it has 36 branches, and in India, it manages 150,000 agents and employs 12,000 individuals, and runs 600 branches.

“Asia is going to be much more powerful, it is very much the future,” Stewart said, adding that the region’s middle class consumption is driving the economies.

original source: The Philippine Star