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MetLife seeks to stop government’s appeal of ruling undoing SIFI designation

MetLife asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday to defer judgment on the government's appeal of a court decision undoing the firm's designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution, in light of President Donald Trump's April 21 executive order to review the SIFI designation process used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Waiting for that review “will enable the new administration to determine whether any of FSOC's positions in this case should be reconsidered and whether it is appropriate for the government to continue pressing this appeal. At a minimum, the findings of the forthcoming report may substantially illuminate this court's consideration of the issues on appeal,” said MetLife lawyers Eugene Scalia, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, in MetLife's motion. The government's response is due May 4.

MetLife successfully challenged its December 2014 SIFI designation, which was rescinded in March 2016 by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who said FSOC officials departed from their own standards and failed to consider the costs to MetLife of being designated.

The government appealed that decision, saying that Ms. Collyer's assessment of FSOC's process “was profoundly mistaken,” and that FSOC officials were not required to consider the potential costs to MetLife. “The issues presented in this case affect the council's ability to exercise” its designation authority, government lawyers argued in the appeal. Arguments on the government's appeal were held Oct. 24, 2016.