Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) and Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, institutional ownership, dividends, valuation, earnings, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Profitability

This table compares Unum Group and Sun Life Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Unum Group 8.57% 10.23% 1.49%
Sun Life Financial 12.48% 13.29% 1.03%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Unum Group and Sun Life Financial’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Unum Group $11.19 billion 1.06 $1.66 billion $4.15 12.62
Sun Life Financial $20.89 billion 1.16 $3.07 billion $3.17 12.49

Sun Life Financial has higher revenue and earnings than Unum Group. Sun Life Financial is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Unum Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Unum Group pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.8%. Sun Life Financial pays an annual dividend of $1.39 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. Unum Group pays out 22.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Sun Life Financial pays out 43.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Sun Life Financial has raised its dividend for 8 consecutive years. Sun Life Financial is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings for Unum Group and Sun Life Financial, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Unum Group 2 6 2 0 2.00
Sun Life Financial 0 9 1 0 2.10

Unum Group presently has a consensus price target of $50.22, suggesting a potential downside of 4.08%. Sun Life Financial has a consensus price target of $51.25, suggesting a potential upside of 29.45%. Given Sun Life Financial’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Sun Life Financial is more favorable than Unum Group.

Volatility and Risk

Unum Group has a beta of 1.59, suggesting that its stock price is 59% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Sun Life Financial has a beta of 0.88, suggesting that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

92.2% of Unum Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 40.9% of Sun Life Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.5% of Unum Group shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

Sun Life Financial beats Unum Group on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Unum Group

Unum Group is a provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company’s products include disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision, and other related services. Its segments include Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate. Its Unum US segment includes group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life and accidental death and dismemberment products, and supplemental and voluntary lines of business. Its Unum UK segment includes insurance for group long-term disability, group life, and supplemental lines of business, which include dental, individual disability and critical illness products. Its Colonial Life segment includes insurance for accident, sickness, and disability products, life products, and cancer and critical illness products issued primarily by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company and marketed to employees. Its Closed Block segment consists of other insurance products.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc. is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services company providing a range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. It operates through five segments. The Sun Life Financial Canada segment provides retail insurance and investment advice, products and services to people across Canada. The SLF U.S. segment has three business units: Group Benefits, International and In-force Management. Its Sun Life Financial Asset Management segment consists of MFS Investment Management and Sun Life Investment Management. The SLF Asia segment operates through subsidiaries in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as through joint ventures and associates with local partners in the Philippines, India, China and Malaysia. Its Corporate segment includes SLF U.K. and Corporate Support. Corporate Support operations consist of its Run-off reinsurance business.

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