The Financial Stability Oversight Council, the body with powers to attach the label to financial companies and hence subject them to tighter supervision, met on Friday to discuss whether to grant relief to AIG.
Shares in the second-biggest US insurer by market capitalisation fell 1.7 per cent in after-hours trading after the council issued a brief statement that made no reference to any change in AIG’s status.
Neither, however, did the body explicitly confirm the designation. That suggests the FSOC did not reach a decision, and indicates the insurer could yet have a chance of the label being removed at another meeting.
Despite the near collapse of AIG in 2008, insurers have long argued they do not pose a systemic threat to the stability of the financial system, arguing their businesses are safer and sounder than those of big banks.
Since the crisis AIG itself has made a push to become smaller and simpler, disposing of assets including a mortgage insurance business, a Lloyd’s of London operation and assets in Japan.
The insurer has been pushing hard to shed its “systemically important” status under Brian Duperreault, its recently appointed chief executive, at a time when the Trump administration has made deregulation a priority.
But while the business is radically different to the one that blew up in 2008, removing its “systemically important” label could prove to be a contentious move for the FSOC given AIG became a poster child for pre-crisis irresponsibility. The council is comprised mainly of the heads of top regulators, including Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve chair.
Dedesignation would normally require support from seven of the 10 voting members of the FSOC. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, has veto powers.
Ahead of the meeting on Friday, people familiar with the matter said a vote on whether to remove AIG’s designation could be close.
Several Obama-era appointees still hold seats on the council. They include Martin Gruenberg, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, who is due to leave his position in November.
AIG provided no comment on Friday. The Treasury did not elaborate on the statement nor say when another meeting to discuss the issue would take place.