MetLife has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to spin off its US life insurance unit into a new holding company, dubbed Brighthouse Financial.

The separation transaction is slated to be initiated in the first half of next year. Completion of the separation is subject to certain conditions and mandatory approvals.

Following the separation, Metlife expects Brighthouse Financial to become a major life insurance and annuity company in the US.

It also said that Brighthouse Financial will have $240bn of total assets along with about 2.6 million insurance policies and annuity contracts as of June 30, 2016.

MetLife president and CEO Steven Kandarian said: "We believe the separation will enable both companies to compete more effectively, achieve strong operational and financial performance, and create long-term value for our shareholders."

Brighthouse Financial is said to provide simplified set of accumulation and protection products to clients by using a wide network of independent distributors.

Metlife has claimed that post-separation, it will continue as the largest provider of employee benefits in the US besides sustaining itself as a leading global insurer.

The company will continue to hold its strong bases in the US, Japan, Latin America, Middle East and Europe.

In January, MetLife revealed that it would detach from a substantial portion of its US retail segment. It was looking at various restructuring options including an IPO, a sale or a spin-off.

MetLife US retail business executive vice president Eric Steigerwalt was named as the president and CEO of the new entity which was named as Brighthouse Financial in July.

Image : MetLife will spin off its US retail life insurance segment into Brighthouse Financial. Photo : courtesy of Farragutful and