Great-West Lifeco Inc. announced its third quarter 2020 results Nov. 4. Both net earnings and base earnings were higher, relative to earnings reported for the same quarter in 2019.

“We consider the steady year-over-year base earnings performance this quarter an excellent outcome considering the unprecedented events over the last nine months,” the company’s president and CEO, Paul Mahon said in a statement accompanying the results.

Net earnings attributable to common shareholders were $826-million or $0.89 per common share for the third quarter of 2020 compared to $730-million or $0.79 per common share for the same quarter last year. The company says the increase was primarily due to a net gain related to the sale of Irish Progressive Services International Limited. This gain, along with favourable market-related impacts, were partially offset by transaction costs related to the company’s U.S. acquisitions.

Base earnings for the third quarter of 2020 were $679-million or $0.73 per common share, up slightly from $677-million a year ago. The company says the comparable results were due to strong business results in the capital and risk solutions group, and favourable experience in Europe.

Canadian operations

The company’s Canadian operations reported base earnings of $270-million for the third quarter of 2020, compared to $355-million in the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of 24 per cent. Net earnings for the quarter were $266-million, down from $300-million in the third quarter of 2019. The LICAT (life insurance capital adequacy test ) ratio for Canada Life, Great-West’s major Canadian operating subsidiary, was 131 per cent,  down slightly from 132 per cent reported as of June 30, 2020, and down relative to the company’s LICAT ratio of 139 per cent as of Sept. 30, 2019.

Overall, the company’s assets under administration reached $1.661-trillion at Sept. 30, 2020, up from $1.597-trillion as of Sept. 30, 2019.

For shareholders, the company’s board of directors approved a quarterly dividend of $0.438 per common share, payable Dec. 31, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 3, 2020.