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Sun Life makes its Wall Street debut

Sun Life IPO

Sun Life Financial Services

(NYSE: SLC) Closed at 9 3/8 on March 23, its first day of trading

Sun Life Financial Services of Canada made its Wall Street debut March 23, closing its first trading day at about 10 percent above its opening price.

The Toronto-based insurer, which trades under the New York Stock Exchange symbol SLC, offered 143.6 million shares, 46.1 million of which went to policyholders. The remaining 97.5 million were sold to individual investors. About 55 percent of the stock was sold to investors in Canada, 40 percent to U.S. investors, and the remaining 5 percent to investors globally. About 160,000 Sun Life policyholders live in the U.S.

"It is a pleasure to complete our demutualization, which we firmly believe is in the best interest of our policyholders and the company," says Donald Stewart, Sun Life's chairman and CEO.

Sun Life's IPO is the culmination of its demutualization effort, which is the process by which a mutual insurance company transfers ownership from policyholders to stockholders.

Sun Life's shares were trading at $9.38 a share at the end of its first day of trading, up about 10 percent of its opening price of $8.50. Sun Life raised $3.4 billion in U.S. dollars in its IPO.

The company is the second life insurance company to go public this year, following John Hancock Financial Services, which went public in January. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Prudential Insurance Co. of America are expected to have IPOs later this year.

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