TIAA-CREF is Slammed

College campuses are about to start looking like the 1960s again — but it isn’t going to be the students who are marching in the streets.

This time, it’s the professors who want their voices to be heard.

Most of the faculty at accredited colleges and universities around the country have their pension money managed by the Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund — one of the largest funds in the nation.

And the teachers aren’t quite happy with the job that TIAA-CREF is doing.

It’s not the returns. In the midst of the raging bull market of the 1990s, TIAA-CREF has posted enviable gains in most of its different funds for several years running.

The problem is the selection of companies that TIAA-CREF chooses to invest in. Many college professors consider themselves more liberal in their political orientation than the country at large, and they would like to be able to invest their money accordingly.

Right now, TIAA-CREF offers one “socially-responsible” fund that refuses to invest in tobacco companies or polluters or other firms that don’t make the cut on various issues of political correctness. That’s called negative screening, and it’s how most socially responsible funds operate.

But the professors want TIAA-CREF to earmark a portion of that portfolio to reward companies that do a good job with employees, shareholders and the environment — known as positive screening.

“We want our investments working in accordance with our values in a positive way,” said Beth Shinn, chair of the psychology department at New York University. “TIAA-CREF is not just another pension company. It is huge and enormously influential, and if it starts investing in companies that do positive things for the environment or employee relations or other quality-of-life issues, then maybe other pension companies will do the same, and that will encourage more companies to take up such practices.”

Read the complete article by Beth Piskora for the New York Post here.

One thought on “TIAA-CREF is Slammed

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