SPRINGFIELD, Mass., and NEW YORK, Feb. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET) have entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition by MassMutual of MetLife's U.S. Retail advisor force – the MetLife Premier Client Group ("MPCG") – a retail distribution operation with more than 40 local sales and advisory operations and approximately 4,000 advisors across the country. On February 25, 2016, MassMutual and MetLife previously announced joint discussions around this transaction.
This acquisition significantly increases MassMutual's existing Career Agency System of more than 5,600 financial professionals. It also broadens the company's geographic reach and provides more clients access to a holistic set of financial solutions, including life insurance, annuities, disability income insurance and wealth management services. As part of the transaction, MassMutual and MetLife have also agreed to enter into a product development agreement under which MetLife's U.S. Retail business will be the exclusive developer of certain annuity products to be issued by MassMutual.
Notably, with this expanded distribution network, MassMutual is further positioned to become the top individual life insurance – and whole life insurance – provider in the marketplace. This transaction comes after MetLife's previously announced plan to pursue the separation of a substantial portion of its U.S. Retail segment.
"This is a milestone event in the 165-year history of MassMutual – and will result in the transformative creation of a distribution powerhouse," said Roger Crandall, Chairman, President and CEO of MassMutual. "Most importantly, this unprecedented transaction will position us for stronger future growth by better enabling our company and agents to do what we do best – help people secure their future and protect the ones they love."
"This combination is a natural strategic and cultural fit for our two companies," said Steven A. Kandarian, MetLife Chairman, President and CEO. "As part of our Accelerating Value strategic initiative, we are evaluating the economic and regulatory environment and directing capital to businesses where we can achieve a clear competitive advantage. This transaction will enable our U.S. Retail business to sharpen its focus on its core strength in product manufacturing while also providing a broader distribution network through the partnership with MassMutual. By decoupling manufacturing from distribution, our U.S. Retail business will be more agile, and both MetLife and the U.S. Retail business can achieve significant cost savings."
In addition to MetLife's retail advisor firms, the transaction will encompass certain MetLife employees who support the MetLife Premier Client Group; MetLife's affiliated broker-dealer, MetLife Securities, Inc.; and certain assets associated with the MetLife Premier Client Group, including employee contracts. On a combined basis, MSI and MassMutual's existing broker-dealer, MML Investors Services, LLC, will be among the nation's largest insurance company-owned broker-dealers. Additionally, as part of the agreement, approved MassMutual financial professionals will provide individual life insurance and annuity products through the MetLife PlanSmart® Financial Education Series.
Michael R. Fanning, Executive Vice President of MassMutual's U.S. Insurance Group, said, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine two teams of experienced financial professionals and significantly expand our geographic reach. Together, we will grow our business opportunities and serve more Americans who desire a comprehensive financial planning approach for their families and businesses."
Eric Steigerwalt, Executive Vice President of MetLife's U.S. Retail segment, said, "Over the years, MetLife has refocused its U.S. Retail distribution channel to become one of the most efficient, productive, and sought-after financial services organizations in the industry. With this transaction, our financial services representatives and support staff will continue to connect clients to the best risk and wealth management solutions, and MetLife's products will now have even greater reach through the premier distribution network that this transaction creates."
Other Transaction Highlights:
The transaction is expected to close by mid-2016, and is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approval.
The purchase price is not material to MassMutual's capital and surplus.
Sandler O'Neill + Partners, LP served as financial advisor and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal counsel to MetLife. Barclays Capital, Inc. served as financial advisor and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP served as legal counsel to MassMutual.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.
About MetLife MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.