MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, cut its adviser force by a third, eliminating 2,500 jobs as the company scales back variable annuity sales and turns to other nations for growth.

MetLife has about 5,000 advisers who sell insurance and investment products, down from 7,500 in February of 2012, Eric Steigerwalt, head of MetLife’s U.S. retail business, said at a May 21 investor day presentation. The New York-based firm lowered the number of agencies to about 60, from 85, he said.

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