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MetLife CEO makes case against being deemed ‘systemically important’

"The chief executive of the nation’s largest life insurance company came to Washington this week with a message: Subjecting large companies to federal oversight could disrupt an entire industry just as the economy is regaining its footing.

"The remarks by MetLife’s Steve Kandarian come as federal regulators say they are near a vote that is likely to put several big firms that play in financial markets — including American International Group, General Electric and Prudential — under the thumb of the Federal Reserve. That would impose on the firms a number of strict regulations, such as holding a lot of cash in reserve so they do not collapse in a crisis.

"Kandarian’s effort was notable because the heads of other large companies have remained relatively quiet on the matter, seemingly accepting their fate. But the move by regulators would be so important to his industry — as Kandarian sees it, the government would be hindering some firms while giving an advantage to others — that he made his case in Washington.

"Having to set aside more money could force firms to reduce or stop offering some products. “Consumers could find lack of supply, higher prices, fewer features on products across the industry,” he said at a recent dinner."

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