February 25, 2016 / 2:38 PM / 3 years ago

MetLife in talks to sell U.S. retail adviser group to MassMutual

File photo of the MetLife building in New York, March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - MetLife Inc (MET.N), which is in the process of trimming down its businesses, said it was in talks with MassMutual Financial Group regarding a possible sale of MetLife Premier Client Group, its U.S. retail adviser group.

“There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated,” MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, said in a statement on Thursday.

MassMutual, a Springfield, Massachusetts-based life insurer, also said it was in talks with MetLife, without giving further details.

MetLife said in January that it planned to separate a substantial portion of its U.S. retail business from the core company, adding the “regulatory environment” helped drive its decision.

The company’s U.S. retail business has been struggling. The unit’s operating income dropped 33 percent in the third quarter and fell 19 percent in the fourth quarter.

MetLife’s Chief Executive Steven Kandarian has said the lagging retail section “risks higher capital requirements that could put it at a significant competitive disadvantage.”

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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