“The hardest question to answer is, ‘What will the capital rules be?’” MetLife Chief Financial Officer John Hele said today in a conference sponsored by Deutsche Bank AG. “We’ve had no insight yet into how they will be thinking about this.”
MetLife, led by Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian, hasn’t announced share buybacks since 2008 amid uncertainty over rules the New York-based insurer could be subjected to if it’s deemed a systemically important financial institution, or SIFI. Kandarian has said the company doesn’t deserve the risk tag, and wrote to investors this year that it’s taken longer “than anyone had anticipated” to get clarity on regulations.
“They’d be great poker players, the Washington Fed, because they don’t give much of a response,” Hele said today. “They listen. They nod. They ask a lot of questions, but it’s hard to tell where they’re going to come out.”
MetLife gained 2.3 percent to $51.92 at 11:16 a.m. in New York. The stock has declined 3.7 percent this year, trailing the 3.4 percent advance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.