Asset Management

Innovative Investing

TIAA-CREF Asset Management manages a wide range of assets spanning a variety of portfolios. Learn more about how we implement our innovative investment strategies through these short case studies from around the globe.

Fruits of Employment Program


Anticipating the growing economic momentum of sustainable food production, TIAA-CREF has established a unique portfolio of valuable, strategic agricultural assets in some of the world’s most productive areas. The organization has acquired more than 400 farms located across the U.S., Australia, Brazil, and Eastern Europe.

TIAA-CREF’s agricultural portfolio is not only comprehensive, but also market-targeted — with growth crops that range from corn to soybeans, sugar to apples, cranberries to wine grapes, and pistachios to almonds. In fact, the organization is now one of the largest growers of almonds in the world.
With the help of tenant farmers, TIAA employees manage all the domestic and international farms in the permanent crop portfolio. Experienced commercial farmers work side-by-side with portfolio and investment professionals from the organization, on the ground at the farm sites. TIAA-CREF’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Westchester Group, Inc., one of the nation’s premier agricultural asset managers, has brought a further dimension to the organization’s in-house expertise. Given TIAA-CREF’s significant capabilities in commercial real estate, this insight has been leveraged across the agricultural portfolio, enabling the implementation of best-practice real estate strategies and the deployment of the organization’s real estate appraisers, engineers, and attorneys into the agriculture sector.


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TIAA-CREF began investing in timberland in 1998, before many other companies were even aware of the value of sustainable production.

Daily oil usage is expected to rise to over 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) by 2030 1; so, the market for oil, coal, natural gas, and alternative energy sources is steadily increasing.

While world food, stock feed and bio-fuel demand is increasing, the global supply of arable land is shrinking.* This imbalance underscores the investment logic of TIAA-CREF’s strategic acquisition and responsible management of prime agricultural land around the globe.

In the TIAA-CREF agriculture portfolio, social responsibility goes hand-in-hand with global investing. The organization’s analysts recognize the value of international investing in socially-responsible and environmentally-friendly ways. This idea pervades many of the organization’s investment decisions.