Bloomberg News

MetLife Plans to Start Buybacks Once After Fed Oversight

March 23, 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 insurer selling banking assets to reduce U.S. regulation, plans to start share buybacks and raise the dividend after the Federal Reserve releases the company from its oversight.

MetLife, whose plan to repurchase $2 billion of shares and increase its dividend 49 percent was rejected by the Fed, is “committed to returning capital to shareholders,” interim Chief Financial Officer Eric Steigerwalt said today at an investor conference hosted by UBS AG. “When we are no longer a bank holding company, our intention would be to carry out our capital plan that we submitted to the Fed.”

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. New York-based MetLife, which is overseen by the Fed because of its banking operations, has said the test wasn’t tailored for insurance companies. The insurer will cease being a bank holding company by the end of the second quarter, MetLife has said.

“We are not a bank,” Steigerwalt said. “We have a small little bank. We’re getting out of that bank, and we should be measured along with all of our other peers.”

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net


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