Nonprofit TIAA-CREF is the largest retirement-plan provider for academia in the U.S. TIAA-CREF stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund. Clients are also in the medical, cultural and research fields. The company's products include IRAs, 529 college-savings plans, mutual funds, after-tax annuities, retirement planning and advice, brokerage services, trust services and services for plan sponsors. It's one of the largest providers 529 savings plans. The organization has operations in Charlotte, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado, with nearly 60 offices in the U.S.
In recent years, the New York-based money-management behemoth has sought to transform itself from a paternalistic organization into a more diverse, full-service financial-services outfit more focused on the bottom line. It has modernized its technology and approach, expanded its mutual-fund lineup, hired more financial advisers, and added client centers and online-brokerage operations. The nonprofit often used its muscle against corporate proposals considered unfriendly to stock investors and has sought to maintain low customer fees. In 2008, the firm named economist and former Federal Reserve vice chairman Roger Ferguson as its new chief executive.
TIAA was established in 1918, by industrialist Andrew Carnegie and his Carnegie Foundation as a pension system for professors. It created CREF in 1952.