A central challenge of investing is to make money grow consistently over time, while avoiding unintended risks. For more than 90 years, we at TIAA-CREF have helped our clients meet that challenge.
Our experience has shown us that consistent growth is only achieved by careful pursuit of sound principles, day in and day out.
We believe that offering disciplined exposure to a variety of market segments is an essential part of our role. It means that you can use our funds and accounts in your portfolio without worrying about asset allocation interference or overlap that can increase your risk level.
Our investments include stocks, bonds, and directly owned commercial real estate through the TIAA Real Estate Account — an asset class usually only available to institutions and high-net-worth investors. We also offer access to 15,000 nonproprietary mutual funds — as well as annuity options to help generate lifetime income — that can help diversify your portfolio.
We have been investing in the fixed-income marketplace since 1918. We made our first real estate investments in 1947. In 1952, we pioneered the use of equity investments as a way of building retirement assets. In 1973, we began diversifying our equity holdings to include foreign stocks. Today, this depth of experience across asset classes makes TIAA-CREF one of the world’s most highly regarded asset managers.
Controlling expenses is also essential for consistent, long-term growth, and low expenses have always been an important part of our strategy. In fact, our fees are less than half the mutual fund industry average.2
Effective risk management is a central component of TIAA-CREF’s investment philosophy and an important reason we have maintained our financial strength and stability over time.
Our risk management organization operates independently from the investment team. It has clearly defined risk metrics and limits on TIAA-CREF’s investment portfolios in every asset class.
These limits function as a second set of controls, making sure that investment portfolios stay true to their benchmarks, seek to outperform the market over time, and provide stable returns for our clients.
1 The Lipper Fund Award is given to the group with the lowest average decile ranking of three years'Consistent Return for eligible funds over the three-year period ended 11/30/12 and 11/30/13, respectively. TIAA-CREF was ranked against 36 fund companies in 2012 and 48 fund companies in 2013 with at least five equity, five bond, or three mixed-asset portfolios.2 Based on Morningstar data, the expense ratio on all mutual fund products and variable annuity accounts managed by TIAA-CREF is generally less than half the mutual fund industry average. (70% are less than half their respective Morningstar Universe average and 60% are less than half their respective Morningstar Universe median.) Our mutual fund and variable annuity products are subject to various fees and expenses, including but not limited to management, administrative, and distribution fees; our variable annuity products have an additional mortality and expense risk charge.