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Regulation forces out Canadian firm after Unum deal

Sun Life Financial of Canada has finally withdrawn from the UK market after offloading its group risk business to Unum Provident, blaming the hostile regulatory environment.

The deal is expected to be finalised on February 28. It leaves SLFOC&#39s closed individual life and pension book as its only remaining UK presence.

The firm says the high level of regulation is one of the main reasons for the decision to pull out of the market by closing its 1,700-strong direct salesforce, selling its fund management arm to Credit Suisse Asset Management and closing its individual life and pension book to new business, all in the last two years.

Terms of the sale have not been disclosed. Unum has bought the entire business rather than just the book and there are not expected to be any job losses. The deal makes Unum Provident the biggest group risk provider in the UK.

SLFOC underwriting and affinities director Bob Bowskill says: “The Canadians see the UK as a very hostile place to do business, regulatory speaking. They see the UK as a place not to be doing business.”

Portfolio Insurance Consultancy principal Brian Lentz says: “I am not at all surprised by SLFOC&#39s view because I think regulation in the UK has become so constrictive that it is now more strangulation than regulation.”

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