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November 19, 2015

Better Markets Goes to Court to Lift the Veil of Secrecy from MetLife’s Attack on FSOC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Contact: Jeff Gohringer, 202-618-6430 or jgohringer@bettermarkets.com

Better Markets Goes to Court to Lift the Veil of Secrecy from MetLife’s Attack on FSOC
**Click here to view the fact sheet, memo, and motion**

Washington, DC — Better Markets announced today that it has filed a motion to give the public the transparency it deserves in MetLife vs. FSOC, MetLife’s lawsuit challenging the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) designation of the global insurance company as a possible systemic risk. The FSOC is the only entity responsible for identifying and reducing the threat to financial stability from non-banks like AIG and MetLife and ensuring that all regulators are working together to prevent financial crashes. This landmark case could define the government’s ability to prevent future financial crises like the 2008 crash for years to come. 

“It’s time to lift the veil of secrecy from the proceedings in MetLife v. Financial Stability Oversight Council. This lawsuit has the potential to eviscerate the Financial Stability Oversight Council, one of the most important institutions established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law. Despite the case’s importance, more than half of the record has been sealed and hidden from public view based on private negotiations and agreements,” said Steve Hall, Better Markets’ Legal Director and Securities Specialist.

In MetLife v. FSOC, MetLife is attempting to nullify the FSOC’s judgment that, as a globally significant and interconnected insurance conglomerate, MetLife should be subject to enhanced supervision by financial regulators. A decision in favor of MetLife could erase that crucial new layer of oversight and paralyze the FSOC in its ability to address other systemic risks to the financial system before they ignite another financial crisis.

Two-thirds of the core body of evidence that the parties are relying on to make their case—and that the Court will rely on to render its decision—has been filed under seal. The court has never independently assessed whether the blanket sealing of so much information is justified or whether the parties’ interests in confidentiality outweigh the public interest in transparency.

The public has a presumptive right of access to judicial records that is firmly established in the law, deeply rooted in our history and tradition, and essential to the integrity of our democracy. Better Markets’ motion with the court seeks to vindicate this right of access to the fullest possible extent.

“This motion is not anti-FSOC or anti-MetLife, it’s pro-transparency. The public has a fundamental right to the records in this historic case, and we’re working to give them the access they expect and deserve,” said Hall.  

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street, and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business, and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements, and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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