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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Sun Life Financial is taking advantage of newfound freedom to share its wealth with investors.

The insurance and asset management giant announced in a release Monday that it's adding an 11-cent per share supplementary dividend to the payment that's scheduled for Dec. 31.

Combined with its regular quarterly payout of 55 cents per share, the total dividend will be 20 per cent higher than the previous quarterly payment.

“We’re quite happy to provide that stimulus and those dividend cheques back to our shareholders,” said Sun Life Financial President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Strain in an interview.

Sun Life was able to sweeten its dividend after the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions ended its pandemic-era prohibition on dividend hikes and share buybacks last week.

Strain said Sun Life’s board held a special meeting over the weekend to approve the hike, which he added brings the dividend back to the company’s target payout ratio of 40 to 50 per cent.  

“Despite going through COVID, where we paid out $700 million in extra claims related to COVID over the last two years, we thought that raising the dividend and doing it as quickly as we could was important,” he said.

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