MetLife’s CEO Steve Kandarian said on an earnings conference call today that the company is possibly considering action to contest a potential designation by federal authorities to name it as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI).
Kandarian was speaking to investors and analysts after third quarter results were released Oct. 30, a transcript of which was offered by Seekingalpha.com.
Specifically, Kandarian said, that although it is too early for MetLife to make that decision, “We were not ruling out any of the available remedies under Dodd-Frank to contest a SIFI designation.” The first — if lobbying efforts themselves prove unsuccessful — would be an appeal to the organization that handed down the designation, the second would be to fight it in federal court. MetLife has been making its case in Washington on why it is not systemically important and why banking-related rules would harm its business for over a year.
Although the Federal Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) met today, it did not appear to have voted on closing the book on a Stage 3 or final review of MetLife in its analysis of its SIFI status. The FSOC received an update on analyses related to interest rate risk and also, among other things, held an initial discussion on asset management, following the receipt of a study on the industry from the Office of Financial Research, according to an FSOC read-out of the meeting provided by the U.S. Treasury Department. Asset managers — perhaps ones that now own insurers — are next in line to get nonbank SIFI designations, some believe.