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Sun Life Excel India Fund

Fund commentary | Q1 2021

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Throughout the first quarter, India saw a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases across the country. Global headlines were dominated by news of oxygen shortages and an overrun healthcare system. The situation in India continues to be dire, however the silver lining is that the death rate continues to be lower than what was seen in the early stages of the pandemic. Moreover, while daily cases continue to be high, the number of these cases in primary urban hotspots have started to plateau and even drop in some cases, showing some signs of improvement for the current wave.

The India vaccination initiative continues in full swing with over 3 million doses administered daily. The hope is that the regional lockdowns along with increasing vaccination efforts will be enough to slowdown the pandemic in the coming months.

India has adopted the approach of regional and selective shutdowns instead of the national lockdown approach taken in 2020. Due to this, the economy continues to remain relatively open as only certain hotspots and selective services have been shut down. Nevertheless, the portfolio manager believes that the economic recovery (which was strongly on its way until the regional lockdowns) will be hampered. The depth of the impact will depend on how long these measures remain in place.

Despite the headlines, Indian equities had a strong quarter and continue to perform well. The markets seems to be looking past the temporary issues and are focused on an earnings bounce from companies. The expectation is that the recovery will continue, albeit a little slower than originally expected. 

Sun Life Excel India Fund - Series A 10.5 7.5 11.7 9.8 3.8 52.6 4.5
MSCI India Index 9.5 7.2 10.7 10.6 8.4 56.3 3.8
Sun Life Excel India Fund - Series F 9.2 8.7 13.0 11.0 5.1 54.4 4.8
MSCI India Index 10.0 7.2 10.7 10.6 8.4 56.3 3.8

¹Returns for periods longer than one year are annualized. Data as of December 31, 2020.

²Partial calendar year. Returns are for the period from the fund’s inception date of Series A: April 14, 1998 to December 31, 1998 and Series F: January 4, 2005 to December 31, 2005.

Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any mutual funds managed by SLGI Asset Management Inc. These views are not to be considered as investment advice nor should they be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. This commentary is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific individual financial, investment, tax or legal advice. Information contained in this commentary has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made with respect to its timeliness or accuracy.

This commentary may contain forward-looking statements about the economy and markets, their future performance, strategies or prospects or events and are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are speculative in nature and cannot be relied upon.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Investors should read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.  The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in security value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or other optional charges or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

While Series A and Series F securities have the same reference portfolio, any difference in performance between these series is due primarily to differences in management fees and operating fees. The management fee for Series A securities also includes the trailing commission, while Series F securities does not. Series A securities of the fund are available for purchase to all investors, while Series F securities are only available to investors in an eligible fee-based or wrap program with their registered dealer. Investors in Series F securities may pay a separate fee-based account fee that is negotiated with and payable to their registered dealer.

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