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The head of MetLife has become the latest finance chief to talk up the prospects of his company under Donald Trump.

Steve Kandarian, president and chief executive of the biggest US insurer by assets, has been critical of tighter regulation – and even took the Obama administration to court to fight the group’s designation as a too-big-to-fail institution.

He has also been cautious about the consequences of persistently low interest rates, which hurt insurers’ investment returns and push up the value of their liabilities.

But presenting fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, he said: “The prospect of higher interest rates and a more favorable regulatory environment, together with our new enterprise strategy, capital management and expense discipline, position us for value creation.”

His comments came as MetLife posted a $2.13bn quarterly loss after higher interest rates caused a mark-to-market hit to its derivatives portfolio. The results point to the sector’s quirky accounting rules, as rising interest rates should benefit insurance companies.

Shares in MetLife, which have rallied 13 per cent since the US election, fell 1.5 per cent in after hours trading.

On an operating basis, however, MetLife’s earnings rose 3 per cent from a year ago to $1.4bn.

MetLife won its legal fight against the Obama administration, which removed its too big to fail label. However, it is still pressing ahead with a planned break-up of the group by spinning off US retail assets.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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