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Sun Life plans 30 new jobs over two years

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Financial services firm Sun Life is planning to more than double its staff on the Island over the next few years.

And the Canadian-founded firm's international arm aims to boost the number of Bermudians in top jobs with an international training programme.

The firm's international office already has plans to boost staff numbers from the 30 in 2012 to 60 by 2016.

And Sun Life's Andrew Darfoor said: “We hope we get that number closer to 65 or 70 people — that's our broader target.”

Top Sun Life executives, including Mr Darfoor, who is a senior vice-president and CEO of Sun Life International, Dean Connor, president and CEO of Sun Life Financial and Daniel Fishbein, president of Sun Life Financial US, were due to meet Premier Michael Dunkley to explain their plans for boosting their Bermudian presence in top jobs and jobs expansion.

Mr Darfoor explained that three Bermudian graduates would be recruited for the firm's rotational leadership development programme (RLDP).

He added the recruits would spend time working in the US and Canada “to give them exposure to our broader business” before coming back to Bermuda to move into a leadership role with the firm.

Mr Darfoor said: “It's a great opportunity for Bermudians to learn about a global financial services company and bring that back to Bermuda.”

He added: “They will be getting exposure to North America or Canada, which is something they wouldn't get locally in Bermuda. We're really excited about creating that opportunity in Bermuda.”

Mr Fishbein said that the programme was an extension of an existing programme in Canada, which has 45 people on the fast track to top positions.

He added: “About 75 per cent of our employees in Bermuda are Bermudian, but we would like to grow the proportion of our leaders here who are Bermudian.”

Mr Darfoor said the firm had been able to grow — despite the recession — by providing financial planning advice to wealthy clients and families.

He added: “In times of uncertainty, the ability to be able to to think into the future, there's an increased need for that. The other factor, I would say, is that with the high net worth population, the affluence has been substantially growing.

“That creates substantial opportunity for us.”

Mr Darfoor said that Bermuda was the head office for Sun Life's international business, offering support in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia — all seen as growth markets as their economies continue to grow.

Mr Fishbein added: “We are meeting with the Premier to talk about our commitment to Bermuda and growing employment on the Island and to talk about the new RLDP programme.”

He said that the firm had received 35 applicants for the programme in Bermuda so far but were looking for more, targeting graduates who have just gained their degrees or will be completing them in the new year.

Sun Life has had a presence in Bermuda since 1881 and set up its international arm in 1996. The firm has almost $602 billion in assets under management worldwide.

Mr Darfoor said: “The international side is a big part of our future. This is building for the next 150 years — we're not taking a short-term view on this.”

Mr Fishbein added that Bermuda was “a first class financial centre, respected around the world and respected by our clients”.

He said: “It's a great place to do business and people value the expertise in Bermuda. It's got sound regulation and a framework people trust.”

Andrew Darfoor
Daniel Fishbein

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Published December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm)

Sun Life plans 30 new jobs over two years

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