Working with TIAA-CREF
We at TIAA-CREF recognize the important role independent financial advisors play in delivering services to plan sponsors and participants. We work closely with advisors to drive the best retirement outcomes for participants in the not-for-profit market, as evidenced by replacement income levels within TIAA-CREF-administered plans that are among the highest in the industry.
We work with advisors in a number of ways at the plan and participant levels to support effective service delivery. These efforts help advisors grow their business, help plan sponsors integrate advisor services into their plans, and support participants as they plan for a secure retirement.1
For advisors who provide traditional plan-level services and/or communication and education services, TIAA-CREF supports their relationships with plan sponsors and facilitates fee payment directly from plan assets. Fee arrangements vary based on such factors as services provided, plan sponsor preferences and plan economics.
Plan sponsors can utilize one of several models to give plan participants access to investment advisory services via local independent Registered Investment Advisors. Fees can be deducted directly from the participant’s plan accumulation in each of these models:
Participant Choice Model
Participants can work with any SEC or State Registered Investment Adviser who has an established operational relationship with TIAA-CREF.
Participant Choice Plus Network
As with the Participant Choice Model, participants can work with any SEC or State Registered Investment Advisor or choose one from the pre-screened advisors in the TIAA-CREF Advisor Network.
Participants may work only with advisors in the TIAA-CREF Advisor Network
Retirement Advisory Alliance
For plan sponsors who wish to work with specific advisors, TIAA-CREF offers the Retirement Advisory Alliance program through the Advisor Network. Under this program, TIAA-CREF provides recordkeeping services, and the selected local advisor delivers general communication and education and investment advisory services. The advisor receives plan-level fees for communication and education services. In addition, the advisor receives advisory fees only from participants who receive investment advisory services.
Whichever of these models is chosen, participants can pay investment advisory fees directly from plan accumulations with pre-tax dollars. The plan may set maximum fee limits for these services.
Even if a plan has not adopted one of the independent RIA models, an advisor still can be authorized to access information and manage TIAA-CREF plan assets on a participant’s behalf.
1 Plan Outcome Assessment: Evaluating Plan Effectiveness and Employee Retirement Readiness, September 2013. Nearly 80% average income replacement rates across plans assessed. This corresponds with commonly cited best practice range of 70-90%.
The TIAA-CREF Advisor Network (Network) is a service that provides plan sponsors and retirement plan participants with information to assist them in selecting independent investment advisers (Advisors) to provide communication, education and participant-level advisory services. Participating Advisors are not employees or agents of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF) or any of their respective affiliates or subsidiaries. TIAA-CREF acts as recordkeeper for institutional plans and is not a fiduciary to any plan or its respective participants. TIAA-CREF is not making a recommendation or acting as a fiduciary when plan sponsors or participants select an Advisor from the Network, nor is it responsible for the investment advice and other services provided by participating Advisors.
Participating Advisors are required to meet certain minimum criteria developed by the Center for Due Diligence, Fiduciary Risk Assessment and TIAA-CREF. However, participation in the Network should not be construed as an endorsement or guarantee by TIAA-CREF of the services provided by any Advisor. Plan sponsors and participants are free to select an Advisor outside of the Network to provide participant advice or other services.
Plan sponsors and participants should do their own due diligence before hiring an Advisor or any other financial professional. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers publications such as Investment Advisers: What You Need to Know Before Choosing One and Protect Your Money: Check Out Brokers and Investment Advisers to assist investors. TIAA-CREF shall have no liability or responsibility for any losses arising out of or relating to a plan sponsor or participant’s decision to engage an Advisor. TIAA-CREF does not receive any compensation or referral fees from the Advisors participating in the Network.
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