Prudential Financial shakes off government's 'too-big-to-fail' label

  • Prudential is the last of the four nonbank financial companies to bear the label "systemically important."
  • Having the designation removed means Prudential has won relief from stricter regulatory oversight.

The last of the four nonbank financial companies to bear the label "systemically important" has won relief from stricter regulatory oversight.

The government's Financial Stability Oversight Council, a group of market and bank regulators, has removed the designation for Prudential Financial.

The move means Prudential won't be subject to the costs of heightened regulation as a "too big to fail" institution, something it and the other companies had fought since being categorized as such in the wake of the financial crisis. Shares of Prudential rose slightly Wednesday.

"We are pleased with this decision, which affirms our longstanding belief that Prudential never met the standard for designation," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement for the council that the decision "follows extensive engagement with the company and a detailed analysis showing that there is not a significant risk that the company could pose a threat to financial stability."

Last year, the panel removed the designation for American International Group. General Electric's GE Capital got rid of it in 2016 after a dramatic remake of its operations. MetLife won its battle in court in January.

The label was created in response to the financial crisis-era failure of Lehman Brothers, meant to identify nonbanks whose failure could threaten the financial system. It put these companies under oversight by the Federal Reserve, prompting the four to immediately try to shrink their operations to shake it off. MetLife shed its retail operations, for example, and GE Capital and AIG shrank by more than half their former sizes.