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Sun Life Financial Inc. says its net income increased 73 per cent to $900-million in its latest quarter on market-related improvements, particularly from higher interest rates.

The Toronto-based insurer reported after markets closed Wednesday that its profit in the second quarter amounted to $1.53 a share, up from 88 cents a share or $519-million a year earlier.

Underlying net income rose 19.5 per cent to $883-million or $1.50 a share, up from $739-million or $1.26 a share in the second quarter of 2020.

Analysts on average expected Sun Life to post $1.47 a share in adjusted profits, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Insurance sales increased nearly 15 per cent to $710-million while wealth sales slipped 2.9 per cent to $55-million from $56.6-million in the year-ago period.

The value of new business rose to $284-million from $206-million.

“Sun Life delivered a strong second quarter driven by momentum in all four pillars, which reflects our ability to execute on our strategy, the priority clients are placing on health and financial security and our continued focus on enhancing digital capabilities,” stated incoming chief executive Kevin Strain.

Mr. Strain is succeeding Dean Connor, who retires Friday as CEO after 15 years with Sun Life, including 10 years as chief executive.

“Dean built a strong foundation for the future, including Sun Life’s entry into the alternative asset management space and our growth in Asia.”

Canada was the biggest contributor to net profits in the quarter, accounting for $404-million or the $900-million as insurance sales grew 30 per cent to $196-million and wealth sales were up 47 per cent to $3.8-billion.

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