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MetLife Gets Board and State Regulator OK for Brighthouse Spinoff

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MetLife Inc. is getting closer to spinning its Brighthouse Financial unit off as a separate company.

If the Securities and Exchange Commission approves the Brighthouse unit’s securities registration statement quickly, investors who own MetLife stock on July 19 could get Brighthouse stock Aug. 4.

An investor will get one share of Brighthouse common stock for every 11 shares of MetLife stock, MetLife said Thursday. 

Related: MetLife Shelves 148-Year-Old U.S. Retail Brand for ‘Brighthouse’)

MetLife, a New York-based company formed in 1869, began working publicly on splitting Brighthouse off as a separate company a year ago.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro approved the spinoff Tuesday. A hearing officer noted that no one showed up at a hearing with any objections to the proposal, and no one sent any written objections.

MetLife announced that it has received approval from its own board for the spinoff Thursday.


Brighthouse will inherit MetLife’s retail life and annuity operations. It has corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and 2.8 million life insurance policies and annuity contracts in force.

MetLife executives have put an official list of the reasons for the spinoff in a preliminary information statement about the spinoff that was filed with the SEC last week.

MetLife says it is spinning off Brighthouse partly because of regulatory worries, such as concerns about the U.S. Department of Labor fiduciary rule, and about the possibility that federal regulators may return to trying to classify the company as a nonbank systemically important financial institution.

The spinoff should also help investors value Brighthouse and MetLife independently, give Brighthouse more flexibility to invest in its operations, and let Brighthouse shift to using a platform dedicated to the needs of retail customers, the company says.

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Preliminary Information Statement

Agents and brokers may find information of interest in the preliminary information statement.

Two tables, for example, break down Brighthouse’s annualized new premium by distribution channel and product type.

The annuity table shows that independent financial planners handle about 38% of Brighthouse variable annuity sales and 62% of indexed annuity sales.

Regional brokerage firms are the biggest distributors of the company’s traditional fixed annuity sales. About 38% of those sales flow through them.

National brokerage firms bring in just 5.1% of the company indexed annuity sales but 25% of its fixed annuity sales.

On the life side of the company, regional brokerage firms account for 79% of new annualized premium from life sales.


Another section of the information statement talks about the relationship Brighthouse has with Genworth Financial Inc. Brighthouse reinsured a block of long-term care insurance with Genworth units in 2000. The Genworth LTCI reinsurance recoverable had a value of $6.3 billion on March 31.

Brighthouse also has about $2.7 billion in reinsurance recoverables through other reinsurance arrangements. The top three Brighthouse reinsurers other than Genworth are Travelers, Reinsurance Group of America and AXA. 

— Check out Brighthouse Financial Puts Its Brand on Annuities on ThinkAdvisor.