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MetLife, FSOC end legal case over SIFI designation

MetLife and the Financial Stability Oversight Council agreed Thursday to end the legal fight over the company's designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution.

MetLife and FSOC filed a joint motion to dismiss the federal government's appeal of a decision by the District Court in Washington that rescinded the SIFI designation.

MetLife was designated systemically important by FSOC in December 2014. In March 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer rescinded it, saying FSOC officials departed from their own standards and failed to consider the costs to MetLife, which brought the case.

The Obama administration appealed that decision, saying that Ms. Collyer "was profoundly mistaken" about FSOC's process, and that the issues raised in the case affect FSOC's ability to exercise its designation authority.

MetLife said in its statement Thursday that it will join with FSOC in asking the court to vacate the portion of Ms. Collyer's opinion that said FSOC failed to undertake the required cost-benefit analysis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the settlement with MetLife was recommended by a majority of FSOC voting members. "Treasury has recommended specific reforms to make the designation process more analytically rigorous, clear and transparent. As chair of FSOC, I will be working with the council to clarify and revise the non-bank designation rule and guidance. Our recommendations would directly address the concerns identified by the District Court in the MetLife case," Mr. Mnuchin said in a statement.

Prudential Financial is the only remaining non-bank financial firm with the SIFI designation.