“I think MetLife will have a difficult time challenging this designation in court because it is interconnected in a lot of ways to the financial sector and the real economy,” said Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, managing principal of financial consulting firm MRV Associates. “We’re not talking about a small mom-and-pop shop here — if they fall apart, there would be widespread effects. You can’t have it both ways — you can’t be this huge one-stop-shop company and enjoy the benefits of all these synergies but also claim you’re not systemically important.”

MetLife is a complex global financial institution, not merely an insurance company, Valladares said, noting that the company offers retirement plans and savings products, transacts in annuities, sponsors special-purpose vehicles, participates in the derivatives markets and invests in private equity.