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MetLife defends SIFI designation challenge

Posted On: Apr. 6, 2016 12:00 AM CST

MetLife Inc. was not trying to weaken the Financial Stability Oversight Council through its legal challenge of being designated a systemically important financial institution, the insurer said Wednesday.

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, MetLife General Counsel Ricardo A. Anzaldua said that contrary to an April 4 New York Times editorial, “MetLife has consistently expressed support for robust regulation of the life insurance industry.”

MetLife, along with American International Group Inc. and Prudential Insurance Co., were designated as a SIFI by the FSOC, but it's the only insurer to challenge the designation in court.

SIFIs are subject to additional reporting and financial stress testing.

On March 30, U.S. District of Columbia Judge Rosemary M. Collyer rescinded MetLife's SIFI designation in an opinion that remains sealed.

In his letter published Wednesday, Mr. Anzaldua said MetLife was appealing it designation through “an avenue of judicial review specifically provided” in part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which created the FSOC.

“In its appeal of its designation, MetLife is not trying to weaken the oversight council; it is furthering the standards and procedures that Congress created,” said Mr. Anzaldua in the letter. “Dodd-Frank sets forth a detailed set of criteria for determining whether an entity is systemically risky, or too big to fail. The oversight council's designation of MetLife satisfied only one of those criteria, the obvious one: that MetLife is a large institution.”