“In light of MetLife’s announcement that it is considering spinning-off its U.S. retail business and the limited information available at this time, we have made the decision to temporarily pause the sale of MetLife annuities,” Joe Madden, a spokesman for Fidelity, said Wednesday in an e-mail.
MetLife Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian said last month that the unit selling annuities was at a “significant competitive disadvantage” because his company faces the prospect of tighter capital rules after being designated a non-bank systemically important financial institution. His plan left unanswered questions about the timing of the split and what form it will take.
The loss is a setback for MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, which has declined about 21 percent this year in New York trading. The insurer’s Accumulation Annuity and Growth and Income Annuity are no longer available to new investors through Fidelity, the company says on its website.