Jul. 30, 2014, 4:11 PM
Jul. 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
- The joint venture between MetLife (MET -0.8%) and Norway's sovereign wealth fund purchased the Boston's One Beacon Street office building for about $561M. Met will own 52.5% of the tower, with Norges controlling the rest.
- The two began their partnership late last year, with Met looking for fee income by attracting institutional investors to a new asset-management unit.
- Press release
Jul. 22, 2014, 5:57 PM
- U.S. regulators are poised to label MetLife (NYSE:MET) "systematically important" and a potential threat to the financial system, subjecting the insurer to oversight by the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports.
- MET has been under consideration as systemically important for more than a year, and its executives have met more than 10 times with Financial Stability Oversight Council staff members to argue it doesn’t pose a risk.
- The report says a decision by the council may come as early as July 31, when the panel is tentatively planning to meet.
Jul. 10, 2014, 9:01 AM
- In partnership with Panattoni Development Company, MetLife (MET) will develop a new industrial distribution park on 183 acres, 25 miles from Atlanta. Lambert Farms Distribution Center will have up to 3M square feet of distribution space. The project is expected to take about 3 years and cost $110M.
- Positive on industrial markets in core cities, MetLife has plans with Panattoni for eight facilities in four states totaling nearly 6M square feet.
- Source: Press Release
Jul. 8, 2014, 7:25 AM
Jul. 7, 2014, 5:42 PM
Jun. 26, 2014, 10:04 AM
- The Combo and GrandProtect allow for the ability to combine auto and home coverages into one package in MetLife's (MET) mass-marketed insurance program. An internal survey shows 60% prefer one bill for their account, and 70% currently have auto and home coverage with the same company.
- Source: Press Release
Jun. 16, 2014, 9:39 AM
- "Better diversification, financial flexibility, market position and capital adequacy are the key drivers of the single notch difference between insurance peers MetLife (MET -0.5%) and Prudential Financial (PRU)," says Moody's in a new report.
- Met's domestic insurers are rated Aa3 and Prudential's A1 for insurance financial strength. MetLife's holding company is A3, and Prudential's Baa1.
- MetLife has a meaningful presence in more countries than Prudential, says Moody's, and its U.S. market share in group insurance "stands out compared to Prudential."
- Moody's also notes Prudential's aggressiveness with share repurchases - pleasing to stockholders, but a marginal negative for the agency's debt-focused customers.
Jun. 10, 2014, 2:38 PM
- Key commitments to deliver on by 2016: 1) Shift from market-sensitive products (variable annuities) to improve risk profile; 2) Grow emerging markets to 20% of operating earnings; 3) $1B in gross expense savings; 4) Increase operating ROE to 12-14%.
- Going through these, MetLife (MET +0.5%) CEO Kandarian notes VA sales were just $10.6B in 2013 vs. $28.4B in 2011, while GVWB sales rose to $1.3B from $1B; operating earnings growth from EM has been 11% compounded since 2011 and hit $894M last year; $1B in savings by year-end 2015 have been identified; and operating earnings have gained 16% annually since 2011. with operating ROE rising to 11.9% from 10%.
- Webcast and presentation slides
- Previously: Wait is over: MetLife announces $1B buyback
Jun. 10, 2014, 6:55 AM
- Apparently tired of waiting for direction from D.C., MetLife (MET) resumes stock buybacks for the first time since 2008 with a $1B repurchase plan.
- CEO Steven Kandarian: "Our philosophy is that excess capital belongs to our shareholders ... We anticipated that the non-bank SIFI capital rules would be known by now, but recent statements by the Fed suggest that we may not see draft rules until 2015. Meanwhile, our capital continues to grow."
- At the current stock price, the buyback would be good for more than 18M shares, or about 1.5% of the float.
- Source: Press Release
Jun. 4, 2014, 10:56 AM
- Providing a particular boost to the large insurers, the Senate today approves a bill giving the Fed the flexibility to tailor capital rules for insurers which may fall under their purview - as opposed to original Dodd-Frank language which could have required a "one size fits all" policy in which insurers would have faced the same capital rules as those applied to largest banks.
- “It is becoming increasingly clear that the Fed will be given the flexibility to tailor its regulation of insurance companies,” says FBR's Ed Mills. “This should be a strong positive for the insurance firms deemed systemically important.”
- Speaking at his company's annual meeting today (webcast and presentation slides), Prudential (PRU +2.7%) Vice Chairman Mark Grier is pleased with the Senate action and says his company can meet any reasonable capital standard.
- MetLife (MET +2.5%), AIG (AIG +0.9%)
Jun. 4, 2014, 10:28 AM
- The life insurance sector mostly in the green after Dai-ichi purchases Protective Life for nearly 1.7x March 31 book value (excluding AOCI).
- Not exactly take-out candidates, MetLife (MET +2.5%) trades for 1.1x book and Prudential (PRU +2.5%) at 1.4x book. Lincoln National (LNC +1.9%) - with a market cap of $13.4B - trades for 1.1x book.
- Others: Primerica (PRI +0.5%), Kansas City Life (KCLI +0.5%).
- Previously: Dai-ichi snaps up Protective Life
Jun. 3, 2014, 1:09 PM
- Yesterday, Thomas Sullivan was named to oversee the Fed's regulation of non-bank systemically important financials, which at this point includes AIG and Prudential (PRU), and may eventually include MetLife (MET).
- Sullivan led the Connecticut Insurance Department from 2007-10, and before that spent more than two decades at Hartford Financial. His new position won't give him final say on decisions affecting the big insurers and their capital requirements, but he will have an important voice.
- "State regulation of insurance has protected insurance consumers and companies from the worst of the financial crisis," said Sullivan to Congress in 2009. "The business of insurance has not created the kinds of unrestrained and unregulated systemic risks that reform efforts seek to manage or prevent.”
- Said "reform efforts" eventually morphed into Dodd-Frank, and insurers (particularly MetLife) are lobbying to either prevent being named SIFIs or, if they are named as such, to prevent them being placed under the same capital regime as banks.
- Previously: Fed hires official to oversee AIG, Prudential
Jun. 2, 2014, 3:51 PM
- Thomas Sullivan - who led the Connecticut Insurance Department from 2007-10 and later worked for PwC - has been hired to oversee non-bank financials which have been designated as SIFIs (so far AIG and PRU, along with GE's finance arm). He starts his job in one week.
- Sullivan fills an expertise gap for the Fed which is used to regulating banks, but doesn't have as much experience with non-banks like major insurers.
- At issue for Sullivan are complaints (led by potential SIFI MET) that capital rules for insurers need to be crafted very differently than those for banks.
- Previously: MetLife lobbies against SIFI designation and capital standards
Jun. 2, 2014, 9:18 AM
- “We truly believe we’re not systemically important,” says MetLife (MET) chief Steven Kandarian, who has embarked on a D.C. blitz to convince regulators not to label the insurer a SIFI, as has been done to AIG and Prudential.
- Regulatory uncertainty - including not just the SIFI designation but what capital rules would follow - has helped make it tough to hit profit targets as a major share buyback continues to be on hold. MetLife, of course, exited its banking operation a couple of years ago, and never received a bailout during the financial crisis.
- Dodd-Frank mandates that bank capital rules must also apply to insurers designated as SIFIs - an idea making little sense, but that never stopped D.C. Maine Senator Susan Collins - who wrote that part of the law - has even said this isn't what she intended, and has sponsored an amendment to revise. Congress has yet to vote on this.
- Far more submissive in these matters is AIG, which knows better after receiving a massive D.C. bailout. "We’re being held to very high standards there and we welcome that," says Peter Hancock, the CEO of AIG's P&C operations.
May. 27, 2014, 10:04 AM
- D.C. regulators would make great poker players, says MetLife (MET +2%) CFO John Hale, presenting at a Deutsche Bank conference. They listen and they ask a lot of questions, but they don't give much away as to how they are leaning.
- Hale's comment comes in response to a question about what new capital rules the insurer would face under a SIFI designation. The Fed, he says, doesn't see a way around Dodd-Frank rules which would essentially have MetLife facing the same terms as bank holding companies. For its part, Met has tried to provide the Fed with options, he says.
- Presentation slides
MET vs. ETF Alternatives
MetLife Inc is a provider of insurance, annuities & employee benefit programs in United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe & Middle East. It offers life insurance, annuities, property & casualty insurance, and other financial services.
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