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Sun Life Financial Inc. says its net profit grew to $937 million in the first quarter as it recorded a restructuring charge related to redefining the role of the office.

The Toronto-based insurer reported after markets closed Wednesday a net profit equal to $1.59 per diluted share for the period ended March 31, up from 67 cents per share or $391 million a year earlier.

It attributed the $546-million gain to favourable equity markets and interest rate changes, partially offset by unfavourable credit-spread movements.

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Sun Life says it recorded a $57-million after-tax restructuring charge related to its strategy for the workplace.

Underlying net income was $850 million, up 10 per cent from $770 million a year earlier, driven by business growth, favourable morbidity experience in the U.S. and favourable credit experience in Canada. That was partially offset by a $31-million decrease from foreign exchange translation.

The profit equalled $1.45 per diluted share, one cent per share below analyst forecasts and compared with $1.31 per share in the first quarter of 2020.

Insurance sales fell 5.9 per cent to $730 million while wealth sales increased 10 per cent to $66 billion. New business rose to $278 million while assets under management totalled $1.3 billion, up 26.5 per cent.

“We continue to invest in future growth, and, after the quarter end, announced our agreement to acquire Pinnacle Care International, Inc., a leading U.S. health care navigation and medical intelligence provider that will complement our stop-loss and health business,” stated CEO Dean Connor.

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