TIAA-CREF

DEFINITION of 'TIAA-CREF'

A nonprofit organization that provides investment and insurance services for those working in education, medicine, culture and research. TIAA-CREF, short for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund, has a history that dates back to the late Andrew Carnegie, whose Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching created the initial organization in order to service the pension needs of professors.

As of late 2005, the TIAA-CREF had more than 15,000 clients, amounting to more than $360 billion in assets under management. Its clients are predominantly institutional and come from the nonprofit and educational sectors. The firm started as a pension administration business, and the core operations of the TIAA-CREF remain geared toward retirement plan administration and a line of annuity products.

BREAKING DOWN 'TIAA-CREF'

In 2016, TIAA-CREF rebranded itself as TIAA to portray a simpler and cleaner image while acknowledging the company's 100-year history. The company continues to offer services to customers such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), mutual funds, annuities, brokerage, 529 plans, insurance, banking, home loans and estate planning.

The Addition of CREF

While the creation of TIAA in 1918 as a means of providing guaranteed lifetime income and insurance was a groundbreaking new resource for teachers and educators, it was the establishment of CREF in 1952 that started the company on the road to becoming a diverse financial services firm. Citing rapidly increasingly life expectancies, CREF allowed individuals the opportunity to add equity investments to their personal portfolios through a variable annuity product. It was designed to use the higher expected returns of stocks to help stretch out the retirement income streams of workers. Fortune Magazine described CREF as "the biggest development in the insurance investment business since the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935."

Innovative Product Offerings

TIAA has demonstrated a history of accepting investment strategies before the strategies became mainstream. In 1979, the company was one of the first to utilize a broad portfolio of international stocks as part of its investment strategy. In 1990, it added the CREF Social Choice Account to its lineup, giving customers a socially responsible investing option. In 1995, TIAA offered individuals the ability to invest in directly owned real estate properties. In 1998, the company entered the 529 marketplace.

Solid Investment Results

TIAA has received much recognition for the performance of many of its products. The company operates the 529 programs for 10 different states, including the highly ranked plans from California, Michigan and Minnesota. TIAA Investments was awarded Lipper's Best Overall Large Fund Company recognition based on the three-year, risk-adjusted performance across multiple asset classes among 37 mutual fund families. TIAA also received the U.S. Lipper Fund Award for Best Mixed Assets Large Fund Company, the top ranking among 39 mutual fund families eligible for the award.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Annuity

    A financial product that pays out a fixed stream of payments ...
  2. Mortality And Expense Risk Charge

    A variable annuity fee included in certain annuity or insurance ...
  3. Valuation Period

    The time between the end of the business day of the first business ...
  4. Teacher Retirement System - TRS

    An organization that is specifically set up for teachers to help ...
  5. Individual Retirement Annuity

    A retirement investment vehicle that is structured similarly ...
  6. Years Certain Annuity

    An insurance product that pays the holder a monthly income for ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Top 5 TIAA-CREF Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Discover how to safely diversify your retirement savings and receive excellent investment returns using a selection of TIAA-CREF low-fee mutual funds.
  2. Retirement

    Who Benefits From Retirement Annuities

    Annuities guarantee some degree of fixed income in retirement. But is the security worth the fees and less favorable tax treatment? How to decide.
  3. Financial Advisors

    How to Buy Annuities When Interest Rates Are Low

    The current low interest rate environment complicates the decision to buy an annuity. Here's what financial advisors need to consider for their clients.
  4. Home & Auto

    An Overview Of Annuities

    These contracts provide a guaranteed income stream. Learn how they work and their benefits.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    The Giants Of Finance: Andrew Carnegie

    Though not as well-remembered as some of his contemporaries, Andrew Carnegie's legacy is strong and moralistic.
  6. Retirement

    Retirement Tips: Choose the Best Annuity Provider

    It pays to get the best advice if you are thinking of putting your money into one of these complicated investments.
  7. Retirement

    Best Ways to Save For Retirement Without an IRA or 401(k)

    Learn the most common types of savings vehicles used to accumulate money for retirement outside employer-sponsored 401(k)s or IRA accounts.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Andrew Carnegie

    We'll look at ten entrepreneurs who not only succeeded, but built vast business empires.
  9. Retirement

    Are You Buying Annuities Or Mutual Funds?

    Investing a client's money in variable annuties is becoming a target for criticism.
  10. Retirement

    Annuities: How To Find The Right One For You

    Fixed, variable and indexed annuities offer different features. Find out which one fits your needs.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Who are the best-rated life insurance companies in the US?

    Learn about what makes an insurance company the best. Read about the best life insurance companies in the U.S. in 2014, following ... Read Answer >>
  2. How safe are variable annuities?

    Discover more about variable annuities, what they offer individuals entering retirement and what forms of protection are ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the main kinds of annuities?

    Learn about the four basic types of annuities, and why the different investment and payout options are suitable for different ... Read Answer >>
  4. Places where I can open an IRA Account?

    Open an IRA through brokerage firms, mutual funds, banks and other major financial institutions, or through large Internet ... Read Answer >>
  5. Should I pull my money out of an annuity if the insurance company is having financial ...

    If an insurance company is having financial problems, you don't necessarily have to pull your money out of the annuity. Even ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are the benefits and advantages of the Teacher Retirement System?

    Learn about some of the primary benefits of a teacher retirement system and what similarities it has with other types of ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Law Of Demand

    A microeconomic law that states that, all other factors being equal, as the price of a good or service increases, consumer ...
  2. Cost Of Debt

    The effective rate that a company pays on its current debt. This can be measured in either before- or after-tax returns; ...
  3. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
  4. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  5. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
  6. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications ...

    A member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions for its members. Established in 1973, the ...
Trading Center