MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 01, 2018 • 08:00 am ET


MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Welcome to the MetLife Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Release Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session, instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

Before we get started, I would like to read the following statement on behalf of MetLife. Except with respect to historical information, statements made in this conference call constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements relating to trends in the Company's operations and financial results and the business and the products of the Company and its subsidiaries. MetLife's actual results may differ materially from results anticipated in forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, including those described from time-to-time in MetLife's filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Risk Factor section of those filings.

MetLife specifically disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise.

With that, I would like to turn the call over to John Hall, Head of Investor Relations.

John A. Hall

(Technical Difficulty) joining me this morning on the call are Steve Kandarian, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer and John Hele, Chief Financial Officer. Also here with us today to participate in the discussions are other members of senior management. You may have noticed that last night we released an expanded set of supplemental slides. They are available on our website. John Hele will speak to those supplemental slides in his prepared remarks if you wish to follow along.

After prepared remarks, we will have a Q&A session. Understanding there is a lot to unpack today, if need be, we will extend our Q&A session beyond the top of the hour. Still, in fairness to all participants, please limit yourself to one question and one follow-up.

With that, I will turn the call over to Steve.

Steven A. Kandarian

Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. Most of my comments this morning will focus on the issue within our Retirement and Income Solutions business that caused us to delay earnings and take an after-tax charge of $331 million or $510 million pre-tax. Simply put, this is not our finest hour. We had an operational failure that never should have happened and it is deeply embarrassing. We are undertaking a thorough review of our practices, processes and people to understand where we fell short and how we can reset the bar at the high-level people have come to expect from us over our 150-year history. The Board of Directors is fully engaged on this issue as well.

Let's start with MetLife's decision to postpone its earnings release by two weeks. The question we have been getting is, if you knew about this issue on December 15, why couldn't you report earnings as planned on January 31? What we did not know until late in the closing process is that we would have a material weakness and