Minister Fast Highlights Success of Canada’s World-Class Financial Services Sector in Southeast Asia

Businesses that succeed abroad create jobs and prosperity at home

August 22, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today congratulated Sun Life Financial on the launching of its new business in Malaysia. Sun Life’s new presence in Malaysia is the most recent example of a Canadian financial services company’s success in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region—a priority market under the Harper government’s pro-trade plan to open new markets.

“The opportunities for Canadian businesses from the financial services sector are great in this region, given that more than one billion people in Asia are expected to enter the middle class in the coming years,” said Minister Fast. “Our government will continue to support Canadian companies that are active in or are exploring this market because we know that when businesses expand and succeed abroad, they create jobs and prosperity at home. I congratulate Sun Life and wish them well in this new venture.”

“Launching Sun Life Malaysia is very exciting as we grow in the ASEAN region and expand our overall footprint in Asia to seven markets,” said Kevin Strain, President, Sun Life Financial Asia. “As a Canadian company new to this market, we’ve established strong local partnerships with Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund, and CIMB, one of the largest and fastest-growing banks in the ASEAN region. We are very excited to help Malaysians achieve their financial goals.”

Sun Life Financial also recently entered the Vietnam market. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird congratulated the company on its entry in Vietnam during his visit to the country in March 2013.

Since becoming Canada’s trade minister, Minister Fast has helped advance the expansion and success of Canadian financial services companies throughout ASEAN in meetings with public and private sector officials. He greeted Manulife Financial Corp.’s first customers in Cambodia during his visit there in 2012 and inaugurated the company’s new office in Indonesia in 2011. He has also met with representatives of Canadian financial services firms in all the ASEAN countries in which these firms operate. Minister Fast has especially applauded the support of a number of Canadian financial services companies—Bank of Nova Scotia Asia, Sun Life Financial, Manulife Financial, Royal Bank of Canada and TD Securities—for the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, which was launched by Minister Fast in 2012.

The financial services sector, which includes banks, insurance companies and asset management firms, is the largest subsector of Canada’s services economy. Canadian financial and insurance services exports have increased by 60 percent over the last five years, reaching $8.1 billion in 2012. Three Canadian life and health insurance companies rank in the top 15 of the world’s largest such companies. Canadian insurers are active in more than 20 countries around the world.

For more information about Minister Fast’s visit to Brunei, please see Minister Fast Visits Brunei.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332
adam.taylor@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade