October 16, 2018 / 5:53 PM / 9 months ago

U.S. seen likely to relieve Prudential of 'systemic' oversight

WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - A panel of U.S. regulators is seen as likely to relieve Prudential Financial Inc from stricter oversight when it meets on Tuesday, in a move that could reduce the insurance company’s regulatory costs.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which convenes top market and bank regulators, is set to vote on whether to remove Prudential’s label as a “systemically significant financial institution,” according to a person familiar with the matter.

The review of Prudential’s systemically risky tag, which adds an extra layer of oversight by the Federal Reserve, is part of a push by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to ease regulatory powers created after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

In announcing Tuesday’s meeting, the Treasury Department said the agenda included “an update on the annual reevaluation of the designation of a nonbank financial company.” Prudential is the only designated nonbank financial company in the United States.

The panel is chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and nine of its 10 voting members were appointed by Trump, who has made easing regulations on businesses a top priority.

A Prudential spokesperson declined to comment.

In November, the Treasury Department recommended regulators focus on activities across the financial system, rather than singling out individual firms for tougher scrutiny. The Treasury said FSOC only designate firms as a last resort, and rely on sector-specific regulators for most oversight.

The FSOC, which is charged with monitoring broad threats to the financial system, was given the ability to identify firms as systemically significant as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Prudential had been the lone remaining nonbank institution to wear the label after the FSOC moved to remove American International Group from the designation in 2017, and MetLife Inc defeated their label in court.

General Electric’s GE Capital financial services unit shed the label in 2016, after it had drastically overhauled its operations. (Reporting by Pete Schroeder Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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