WASHINGTON The Financial Stability Oversight Council voted Thursday to designate Metlife as a systemically important financial institution, the insurance company revealed, making it the fourth nonbank to receive that designation.
MetLife said in a statement in the afternoon that it was "disappointed" in FSOC's designation, which it said unfairly singles out large insurance companies, including Prudential and AIG, which have already been designated as SIFIs. MetLife said the designation puts them at a competitive disadvantage to insurers that are not designated.
The company said FSOC should push for an activities-based approach to systemic regulation for insurers in the same way as it has advocated for in the asset management arena.
"We continue to believe that MetLife is not systemically important under the Dodd-Frank Act's criteria, and the company has presented substantial and compelling evidence to FSOC to support this conclusion," MetLife said. "FSOC has already embraced this activities-based approach for the asset management industry but has rejected it for the life insurance industry."
FSOC held both an open meeting and a closed-door executive session on Thursday. During the executive session, the agency was scheduled to vote on whether to designate an unspecified company as systemically significant. An FSOC spokesperson declined to comment except to say that "any vote on a final designation is generally announced to the public the following business day to allow the company to prepare any public disclosures and communications."
But MetLife has been vocal about its potential designation since the company became aware of the proceedings earlier this year. The insurer said that it went before the council last month to protest a potential designation, a proceeding that was also confidential.
MetLife now has 30 days to decide whether to sue FSOC over the designation. A MetLife spokesperson declined to indicate whether the company would take that route.