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3 Things To Know About Sun Life’s Acquisition of Bentall Kennedy

Sun Life Financial said Monday it’s acquiring leading real estate investment manager Bentall Kennedy Group for $560M. Here are three takeaways from the deal.

1. It’s About Diversification


Sun Life CEO Dean Connor, seen here touring the firm’s future One York Street home, says the acquisition of Bentall Kennedy—which has $27B in assets under management (including Sun Life Financial Tower, below) and provides real estate services across 91M SF of properties—is part of a strategy to expand and diversify the capabilities of the Sun Life Investment Management arm. The two firms will merge real estate management teams and BK will become a unit of Sun Life Investment Management, serving as the firm’s exclusive real estate investment management platform. Bentall Kennedy will retain its brand name.

2. They’ve Created a Commercial RE Beast


Combined, the real estate and mortgage teams of Bentall Kennedy and Sun Life will have $47B in assets under management, such as Vancouver’s Bentall Centre (below), with over 500 institutional clients and investors. The deal’s expected to close in Q3. Sun Life Investment Management president Steve Peacher noted the firms share a “common focus” on customers, quality investments, strong governance and a commitment to sustainability. Pointing out BK’s been in the real estate game over 100 years, CEO Gary Whitelaw underscored both companies’ “deep commitment” to investment management as a core business.

3. Continuity is the Key


Bentall Kennedy will continue to be managed by its current team, led by Gary, who’ll report to Steve Peacher and join the Sun Life Investment Management leadership group. BK and Sun Life Investment Management will maintain their existing office locations. BK’s institutional shareholders, the British Columbia Investment Management Corp (bcIMC) and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), approved the deal and will continue to be clients of BK under Sun Life's ownership. bcIMC SVP Dean Atkins said the acquisition ensures BK is "well positioned" to continue to deliver value to clients.