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Thursday, April 29, 2004

MFS Regaining Balance

by: Caitlin  Pickall

Sun Life Financial excluded a $59 million charge for the March settlement of administrative proceedings by the SEC against subsidiary Massachusetts Financial Services Company from its operating earnings, reported Thursday.

Including that charge, MFS had a net loss of $10 million on revenues of $341 million for the first quarter of 2004. Compared to the net loss of $123 million in last year's fourth quarter, this is good news.

MFS' assets under management were up 27 percent from last year. The unit ended the quarter with US$142 billion compared to US$112 billion a year ago. That was no thanks to U.S. investors in retail mutual funds and institutional separate accounts. MFS lost $1.2 billion on that front. The outflows were offset by positive flows in offshore and insurance products.

The report highlighted new MFS chief executive officer Robert Manning and non-executive chairman Robert Pozen; pro-investor reforms in MFS' 'Setting New Standards' initiative; Morningstar's recent upgrade; and the appointment of MFS by an unaffiliated insurance company as investment manager for a $1 billion-plus account for variable annuity and variable life policies.

It also acknowledged that there is no way to tell what the financial impact of pending litigation against some MFS funds and trustees will be.

"The Company cannot predict the outcome of these actions with certainty and is accordingly unable to determine the total potential impact that they may have on the Company's results of operations, financial position and cash flows," the report stated.  

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