LONDON (AP) _ Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc. said Thursday it will cut 1,700 jobs at its operations in Britain due to disappointing sales in the country. The cuts represent 85 percent of its jobs in Britain.

The Toronto-based company is winding down its direct sales force distribution business in the United Kingdom, leading to a reduction in its British work force to 300 from 2,000 employees.

The cuts will be completed by the end of 2003, with an interim target of 900 employees by the end of this year, it said.

``Amid an increasingly difficult environment in the U.K., we have decided to reduce our business profile,'' said Sun Life chairman Donald A. Stewart.

``Our cost reduction efforts have been successful. However, we have been disappointed with the revenue trajectory and have concluded that we will be unable to meet our longer term financial objectives.''

Sun Life said it didn't expect the cuts to have a material effect on its earnings for 2001.