Sun Life Financial has opened its new asset management business that will specialize in providing private asset class pooled funds and liability driven investment strategies for defined benefit (DB) pension plans and other institutional investors in Canada.

The new Sun Life Investment Management business will be led by Steve Peacher, Sun Life Financial executive vice-president and chief investment officer.

The new operation will include investment operations of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada that manages nearly $100bn in assets, including almost $38bn in private asset class investments.

Sun Life Financial president and CEO Dean Conno said through this initiative the company will be offering the same type of expertise to third-party clients that it has built over the decades to manage its insurance assets.

"This broadens the asset management pillar of our enterprise strategy, providing an excellent complement to MFS Investment Management, Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. and our Asian asset management businesses," Conno added.

The new company is also planning to roll out a set of three funds, Private Fixed Income Plus Fund, the Canadian Commercial Mortgage Fund, and the Canadian Real Estate Fund, which are yet to receive regulatory approvals.