Court Won't Unseal Record in MetLife SIFI Case

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By Phyllis Diamond

May 25 — The record in a dispute between MetLife Inc. and the Financial Stability Oversight Council over FSOC's designation of the insurer as a systemically important financial institution will remain sealed, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held May 25 ( MetLife Inc. v. Fin. Stability Oversight Council, 2016 BL 166138, D.D.C.,No. 15-0045 (RMC), 5/25/16 ).

The intent of Congress and judicial precedent “support the redactions that have been made,” Judge Rosemary M. Collyer concluded.

SIFI Designation

In late 2014, the FSOC named MetLife Inc. a SIFI—a designation subjecting it to additional prudential regulation (245 SLD, 12/22/14) (245 SLD, 12/22/14). MetLife, in turn, filed suit against the FSOC, saying the council's conclusion was arbitrary and capricious and exceeded its Dodd-Frank Act authority (09 SLD, 1/14/15). In March, in a brief order, the court struck down the designation (62 SLD, 3/31/16). A week later, it unsealed the text of its decision (68 SLD, 4/8/16).

Intervenor

In this case, non-profit Better Markets Inc., which objected to the ruling, moved to intervene. It also asked the court to show cause why the entire record in the case shouldn't be unsealed.

The court granted Better Markets' motion for intervention but declined its bid to unseal the record. It said it relied on U.S. Supreme Court precedent in finding the FSOC's designation arbitrary and capricious, and that no basis for its decision “remains hidden from view.”

“To the contrary,” Collyer wrote, “its analysis is available for the public to consider and debate (as it has). Better Markets may do the same.”

Better Markets didn't respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phyllis Diamond in Washington at pdiamond@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Jenkins at sjenkins@bna.com