By Cyril Tuohy
The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) will increase the size of its Individual Advisory Services (IAS) group by adding more than 200 advisors – a 45 percent increase – by the end of next year, TIAA-CREF announced.
The fund, one of the largest in the country with more than $523 billion in assets, employs more than 445 advisors, up from 250 since the beginning of 2012. TIAA-CREF projects that it will employ more than 650 IAS advisors by the end of 2014, the company said.
“The demand for additional advisors stems from increasing demand for TIAA-CREF’s Individual Advisory Services,” said Kathie Andrade, executive vice president and head of Individual Advisory Services at TIAA-CREF.
New York-based TIAA-CREF offers advice over the telephone, online or in person at one of more than 90 offices around the country. TIAA-CREF projects operating 120 offices nationwide by the end of 2014, the company also said.
“Our experience shows personalized advice makes a big difference in clients’ retirement preparedness,” Andrade said. Workers who receive advice from TIAA-CREF are up to five times more confident about their retirement than the average American worker, she also said.
Separate surveys show that investors feel more comfortable about their retirement choices when they work with an advisor. Over time, investment choices often perform better with an advisor, although fees have been an issue for some consumer advocates.
The expansion of IAS comes on the heels of TIAA-CREF’s second annual Financial Advice Survey, which found that nearly one of every two respondents said it was difficult to know whom to trust about financial advice.
TIAA-CREF’s Financial Advice Survey also reported big increases in the number of respondents looking for advice about planning for medical expenses and retirement savings over the past year.
In a separate interview in connection with the results of the Financial Advice Survey, Eric Jones, senior managing director of advisory solutions for TIAA-CREF, said that many workers turn to their advisors for more complex financial planning tasks.
As baby boomers age and as Generation X moves into pre-retirement, advisors will have an important role to play. Many of these individuals already are leaving payrolls and transitioning from asset accumulation to deriving income from those assets. They will be seeking advice about how to manage their finances.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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