Bloomberg News

MetLife Misses Fed Target in Stress Scenario

March 13, 2012

The MetLife Inc. headquarters building stands in New York. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

The MetLife Inc. headquarters building stands in New York. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

MetLife Inc. (MET), the largest U.S. life insurer, would fall short of a U.S. capital standard in a severe economic downturn, the Federal Reserve said. The stock declined in extended trading.

The total risk-based capital ratio at the New York-based insurer would be 6 percent, compared with the minimum acceptable level of 8 percent, the Fed said today as part of a review of how companies would withstand a “stress scenario.”

MetLife is one of four companies to fail the Fed’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, which was applied to 19 of the largest U.S. financial firms. The insurer, which is overseen by the Fed because of its banking operations, was prevented by the regulator last year from increasing its annual dividend.

“We are deeply disappointed,” Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian said in a statement today. “We do not believe that the bank-centric methodologies used under the CCAR are appropriate for insurance companies, which operate under a different business model than banks.”

The insurer had requested approval for $2 billion in share repurchases and an increase of its dividend to $1.10 a share from 74 cents, according to the statement. Kandarian is winding down banking operations and said he expects the company to have as much as $7 billion of excess capital by the end of this year. He said he remains “fully committed” to returning funds to shareholders.

The insurer slipped 3 percent to $38.28 at 4:57 p.m. in extended trading in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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