Boston-based MFS Investment Management set new record sales last quarter, according to its latest earnings report, issued by Canadian parent Sun Life Financial.

Specifically, the firm reported sales of mutual funds and managed funds in the first quarter of 2012 were $19.5 billion, an increase of $6.1 billion from a year earlier. Its total assets under management at March 31 were $284.8 billion, compared to $253.2 billion at Dec. 31.

“The increase of $31.6 billion was driven by asset appreciation of $25.7 billion and record gross sales of $19.5 billion, partially offset by redemptions of $13.6 billion,” according to the firm.

In a statement, CEO Dean Connor said: "MFS Investment Management had a strong quarter and continues to expand its distribution. MMFS also announced plans to establish its own sales and service staff in Australia alongside its local investment team to expand sales and to deepen customer relationships in the region.”