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A general view of the Sun Life Financial building is seen in Toronto May 6, 2015.Fred Thornhill/Reuters

Profits climbed during Sun Life Financial Inc.'s second quarter as the insurer's Asian business continued to grow and sales of wealth and insurance products increased in Canada.

The Toronto-based insurer said net profits rose to $726-million, or $1.18 a share, in its second quarter, from $425-million, or 69 cents a share, a year earlier.

Insurance company earnings can be lumpy from quarter to quarter, based on a variety of market-related factors. To show results without the impact of such items as interest rates, equity-market movements and some other considerations, Sun Life calculates its performance using a supplementary "underlying" profit figure. By that measure, Sun Life's profits were up 23 per cent, as the insurer earned $615-million or $1 a share, compared with $499-million, or 81 cents, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts expectations were for an adjusted 82 cents.

"Our insurance sales increased by 8 per cent and wealth sales by 25 per cent over the second quarter of 2014," Dean Connor, chief executive of Sun Life, said in a statement. Sun Life had global assets under management of $808-billion at the end of June. "In addition to business momentum, we also benefited from market impacts, particularly from interest rates and currency," he added.

Sun Life expanded its asset management business through two acquisitions in the quarter. It said it would buy real estate manager Bentall Kennedy and investment management company Prime Advisors.