The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA, formerly TIAA—CREF) is a Fortune 100 financial services organization that is the leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. TIAA serves 3.9 million active and retired employees participating at more than 15,000 institutions and has $502 billion in combined assets under management (as of December 31, 2012).
Much of TIAA operates on a not-for-profit basis, with surplus returned to participants. TIAA is headquartered in New York City in the United States and has major offices in Denver, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dallas, Texas; as well as seventy local offices throughout the U.S.. In 2013, TIAA ranked 97th on Fortune's list of the 500 largest corporations in America.
TIAA was created to replace the system of free pensions provided by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for professors. When the original fund proved inadequate, TIAA was created in an Act of the New York State Legislature in 1918 as a stock life insurance company for the purpose of providing retirement income for professors through fixed premium guaranteed deferred annuity contracts. Later, in 1952, CREF was created to allow professors to invest in the stock market through the nation's first variable annuity. Its core business continues to be retirement plan administration and annuity products. It is by far the largest manager of employer-sponsored 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans, a defined contribution retirement plan for employees of 501(c)(3) educational, religious, and charitable organizations. The company also offers 401(k) and 457 plans, Keogh plans, and Supplemental Retirement Plans. Contributions from these plans are typically invested in the company's traditional or variable annuities or its line of mutual funds.
In recent years the company has greatly expanded its capabilities and advisory services and broadened clients' investment choices. Internally it has focused on developing customer support IT infrastructure and leadership development.
At the retail level, TIAA offers Traditional and Rollover Individual Retirement Accounts, Roth IRAs, mutual funds, after-tax annuities and life insurance (through TIAA Life), 529 college savings plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, financial planning, and trust and investment management (through TIAA Trust Company, FSB). These investments are offered to the general public, and TIAA is no longer limited to the academic community.
On the institutional side, TIAA Asset Management serves institutional investors and intermediaries, including registered investment advisors, investment-only defined contribution platforms and broker/dealers.
While TIAA is considered to be an academic pension option at universities in the US, it is not associated with the concept of unions or organized labor (which traditionally sought and protected the pensions of workers in the US). So, if a worker's lifetime pension is affected at a university, TIAA is not operated as a party involved in labor-management or management-management disputes.
In 1918, Andrew Carnegie and his Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, under the leadership of Henry S. Pritchett, created the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), a fully funded system of pensions for professors. Funding was provided by a combination of grants from the foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, as well as ongoing contributions from participating institutions and individuals.
In 1921, the policyholders voted to nominate Professor Samuel M. Lindsay of Columbia University to represent them on the TIAA board of trustees. Policyholder representation on the TIAA board was consistent with the Carnegie Foundation desire that educators assume a role in running the organization.
After World War II, in reaction to rising inflation and lengthening life expectancies, and a dramatic expansion of the education sector with the G.I. Bill, TIAA recognized the need for its participants to invest in equities in order to diversify their retirement funds. In 1952, TIAA created the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), a variable annuity, for that purpose.
On June 15, 2007, TIAA became one of the first U.S. companies to voluntarily adopt, and the first to implement, a policyholder advisory vote on executive compensation policy.
On August 12, 2008, TIAA–CREF announced the opening of a new office in London. The office will be staffed by local investment professionals who will extend TIAA–CREF Global Real Estate's activities in the United Kingdom and Europe.
On September 7, 2008, Herb Allison, the former chairman and CEO of TIAA–CREF, was tapped to lead beleaguered home mortgage backer Fannie Mae, as part of a government bailout engineered by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
On May 16, 2013, TIAA–CREF purchased a 50% stake in the Grand Canal Shoppes, including the Shoppes at the Palazzo, in Las Vegas for net proceeds of $410 million USD as part of a new joint venture with General Growth Properties. GGP will continue to oversee the asset management of the project.
On February 22, 2016, TIAA-CREF rebranded as simply TIAA as part of a new marketing and imaging campaign. CMO Connie Weaver explained that the old name was perceived by customers as being complicated, and that the new branding scheme was meant to portray a simpler and friendlier image of the organization.