TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund) is one of the largest financial services companies in the United States, with $420 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2008.
The organization helps meet the financial needs of approximately 3.4 million individuals and 15,000 institutions in the academic, research, medical, cultural and nonprofit fields. Much of TIAA-CREF operates on a nonprofit basis, with surplus returned to participants. TIAA-CREF is headquartered in New York City and has major offices in Denver, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas, Texas as well as 55 local offices throughout the U.S. The company ranks 86th on Fortune's list of the 500 largest corporations in America.
TIAA-CREF was originally created to provide retirement income for professors. Its core business continues to be retirement plan administration and annuity products. It is by far the largest manager of so-called employer-sponsored 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans, a defined contribution retirement plan for employees of 501(c)(3) educational, religious, and charitable organizations. The company also offers 401(k) and 457 plans, Keogh plans and Supplemental Retirement Plans. Contributions from these plans are typically invested in the company's traditional or variable annuities or its line of mutual funds.
In recent years the company has greatly expanded its capabilities and advisory services and broadened clients' investment choices. According to Forbes magazine, TIAA-CREF's offers "the most extensive personalized workplace advice," which the company delivers via consultants who receive no sales commissions as part of their compensation.
At the retail level, TIAA-CREF offers Traditional and Rollover Individual Retirement Accounts, Roth IRAs, mutual funds, after-tax annuities and life insurance (through TIAA-CREF Life), 529 college savings plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, financial planning, and trust and investment management (through TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB).
On the institutional side, TIAA-CREF Asset Management serves institutional investors and intermediaries, including registered investment advisors, investment-only defined contribution platforms and broker/dealers. Investment options cover a wide spectrum of asset classes from traditional equity and fixed-income to real estate and other specialized portfolios and are offered through multiple investment vehicles.
In the 2007 Lipper/Barron's Mutual Fund Family Survey, TIAA-CREF's performance ranked ninth among 67 fund families based on asset-weighted total returns. TIAA-CREF is one of only four fund families ranked in the top 10 for the past two years.
TIAA is one of only three U.S. insurance company groups to receive the highest ratings from the nation's four leading rating agencies (A++, A.M. Best Company (as of 9/08); AAA, Fitch (as of 8/08); Aaa, Moody's Investors Service (as of 7/08); AAA, Standard & Poor's (as of 8/08))
Conservative investing allowed TIAA to survive the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression. Faced with high inflation, increasing life expectancies, and a dramatic expansion of the education sector with the G.I. Bill, TIAA established the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), a variable annuity allowing for investment in equities, in 1952.
On August 12, 2008, TIAA-CREF announced the opening of a new office in London. The office will be staffed by local investment professionals who will extend TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate's activities in the United Kingdom and Europe.
On August 4, 2008, TIAA-CREF began reducing its workforce as part of an ongoing series of steps to align staffing with business needs.
In June 2008, TIAA-CREF introduced a suite of solutions to help 403(b) retirement plan sponsors fulfill their obligations under federal regulations governing the operation of such plans that take effect in January 2009. Offerings include services to help plan sponsors maintain compliant transactions and prepare written plan documents.
May 17, 2008 marked TIAA-CREF's 90th anniversary. On that day in 1918, the Trustees of TIAA ratified the organization’s mission to help meet the financial needs of the individuals and institutions it serves on the best terms practicable.
On April 3, 2008, the Trustees of TIAA named Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and chief executive officer and appointed Ronald L. Thompson chairman of the TIAA board. Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Thompson succeed Herbert M. Allison, Jr., who retired from the company after serving as chairman, president and CEO since November 2002.
On December 19, 2007, TIAA-CREF announced the upcoming launch of Myretirement.org , an online community exclusively for the company's individual clients, or "participants," to discuss their retirement-related interests, experiences and concerns.
On June 28, 2007, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) announced its selection of TIAA-CREF as the sole investment provider for its supplemental retirement savings programs. CalSTRS is the second-largest public pension plan and the largest teachers' retirement fund in the nation.
On June 15, 2007, TIAA became one of the first U.S. companies to voluntarily adopt, and the first to implement, a policyholder advisory vote on executive compensation policy. Preliminary results, announced on July 17, were that 82% of policyholders who voted approved the quality of the company’s executive compensation plan and disclosure, including its connection to performance, achievement of TIAA’s business objectives and creation of long-term value for policyholders.
How TIAA-CREF functions for participants is explained in detail in the book titled Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement by Irving S. Schloss and Deborah V. Abildsoe and published by the Oxford University Press in the year 2000. A history to 1989 by the late William C. Greenough, retired Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, was published in 1990: It’s My Retirement Money—Take Good Care of It: The TIAA-CREF Story (Irwin for the Pension Research Council, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1990).