Recently, I came across an article in the New York Times in which I learned some behind the scenes practices of the financial firm TIAA and I must say, I was disappointed. TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association) has long been seen by educators, medical professionals, administrators and researchers as different than many other financial institutions in their commitment to putting their clients’ interests first. Although that may have been the heritage of TIAA, it appears that their current practices might be calling that commitment into question. “According to interviews with 10 former employees, TIAA management assigned outsize sales quotas to its representatives and directed them to meet the quotas by playing up customers’ fears of not having enough money in retirement and other “pain points.” In addition to this, whistle-blowers have alleged that the company willingly placed investors into products that did not offer additional benefit, were unsuitable and deliberately charged more in fees than other products.
We are not usually ones to bad mouth other financial institutions. Consider this simply passing along a public service announcement. The statement, truth is stranger than fiction, applies here. I could have never made up the depth and breadth of the behavior for TIAA. They are just one of many larger institutions who act in a less than favorable way towards their clients for their own gain.
For years we have helped professors navigate TIAA's labyrinth of options. We never understood how certain products would always be in the portfolio of a client when it may not be in their best interest. This exposure has helped answer some of those questions. TIAA is not wholesome financial institution that was a part of their original charter.
We encourage you to read the full article and don’t forget, we have been a fiduciary will always be a fiduciary. Without a doubt, our clients interest always come first.