Insurer offers payouts to cut staff in Asia

Insurer offers payouts to cut staff in Asia

Insurer offers payouts to cut staff in Asia Katherine Chiglinsky

MetLife Inc. said its Japanese business will offer early retirement packages to some staff as the insurer consolidates operations in Tokyo to help counter pressure from low bond yields.

Non-sales employees who are 45 or older and have been with the insurer for at least three years will get as much as two years of monthly pay if they decide to leave, John Calagna, a spokesman for the New York-based company, said in an e-mail Monday. The Nikkei reported the news earlier and said about 4,800 people are eligible. Calagna declined to comment on the figure for the voluntary program, which starts Oct. 3.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian said last month that the company would be “ simply running in place” if he didn’t cut expenses while low interest rates squeeze investment income. He said the company would cut costs 11 percent by the end of 2019. The company announced a plan in January to separate a U.S. retail operation that sells life insurance and variable annuities, products where results can vary along with fluctuations in stock and bond markets.

“We are making significant investments in our Japan business, including consolidating our Tokyo office and upgrading our workplace environment,” Calagna said in an email. “We also continue to invest in technology and product capabilities, as well as enhance our product offerings in the market.”

MetLife slumped $1.12 to $43.40 at 4:02 p.m. in New York, extending its slump for the year to 10 percent.

Copyright Bloomberg 2016