MetLife Asks for Too-Big-To-Fail Case Delay Until After Trump Review

  • Insurer says appeals court should wait for Treasury evaluation
  • President has asked Treasury Department to examine process

The MetLife Inc. headquarters building stands behind Grand Central Terminal in New York.

Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg

MetLife Inc., the insurer that won a legal case overturning its label as too big to fail, is asking a court to delay ruling on the government’s appeal.

The insurer cited President Donald Trump’s request that the Treasury Department evaluate how the Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC, decides which companies are labeled systemically important financial institutions. MetLife is one of four non-banks that were named SIFIs, a label that can lead to tighter capital standards. General Electric Co.’s financial unit shed that tag by selling assets, and MetLife won a court case last year, a ruling that was appealed by the U.S. under then-President Barack Obama.

“This court should issue an order holding this appeal in abeyance pending the secretary of the Treasury’s forthcoming report” on the SIFI process, according to a federal appeals court filing made Monday in Washington. A delay will “enable the new administration to determine whether any of FSOC’s positions in this case should be reconsidered and whether it is appropriate for the government to continue pressing this appeal.”

Trump’s April 21 memorandum said the review will determine several factors, including whether the designation process involving FSOC, a panel of regulators, is “sufficiently transparent.” A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department had no immediate comment Monday.

Insurers Prudential Financial Inc. and American International Group Inc. have also been declared non-bank SIFIs.

The case is MetLife Inc. v. Financial Stability Oversight Council, 16-5086, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is MetLife Inc. v. Financial Stability Oversight Council, 15-cv-00045, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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