MetLife Inc. should be designated a systemically important financial institution, members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council voted Thursday in a closed meeting.
Following the unanimous vote, MetLife has 30 days to request a hearing to contest the proposed designation. FSOC officials then have 30 days to schedule a hearing. Once the hearing is held, FSOC has 60 days to vote on the final determination.
Steven Kandarian, MetLife chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement the company “strongly disagrees” with the decision, and “is not ruling out” any of the options for contesting it.
“MetLife is not systemically important under the Dodd-Frank Act criteria. In fact, MetLife has served as a source of financial strength and stability during times of economic distress, including the 2008 financial crisis,” Mr. Kandarian said.
“Imposing bank-centric capital rules on life insurance companies will make it more difficult for Americans to buy products that help protect their financial futures. At a time when government social safety nets are under increasing pressure and corporate pensions are disappearing, the goal of public policy should be to preserve and encourage competitively priced financial protection for consumers.”
MetLife would join three non-banks — American International Group Inc., General Electric Capital Corp. and Prudential Financial — designated as systemically important, which requires approval by two-thirds of FSOC members.
The FSOC was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 and given broad authority to identify and monitor excessive risks to the U.S. financial system. Under Dodd-Frank, bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in assets are automatically deemed systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs, and subject to additional supervision by the Federal Reserve.