Investors who start to research TIAA-CREF’s investments usually ask something right away. Why do some of the funds have ticker symbols and others do not? A ticker symbol in relation to a mutual fund is a five digit abbreviation used to identify a specific fund. It is very common to use a ticker symbol to look up information to help research a particular fund.
TIAA-CREF’s ten core accounts are actually annuities and not mutual funds. As an annuity, they do not have a ticker symbol. A university will typically offer the ten core accounts along with complimentary mutual funds as options for TIAA-CREF through their retirement plan. Hence, a mixture of mutual funds with ticker symbols and accounts without.
Many investors have experienced annuities with high costs and long surrender charge schedules. However, TIAA-CREF’s annuities have fairly low internal expense ratios without the long surrender charge schedule. They act very similar to mutual funds with the option to annuitize, or take the accumulation like a pension, at retirement. TIAA-CREF does offer fact sheets for both their mutual funds and annuities which can be very helpful for investors researching their funds.
TIAA-CREF has announced that they will issue ticker symbols for their annuity accounts excluding TIAA Real Estate and TIAA Traditional. The rollout is expected to take place in May of 2015. Each account will have three separate ticker symbols for each account with a tiered approach to internal expenses. The largest institutions will received the account associated with the ticker symbol with the lowest pricing while employees at the smaller institutions and with IRAs will be placed in the accounts with the highest fees. This will require some decision making and confusion among TIAA-CREF participants.
This article is written by Kevin J. McNab. Kevin works with professors, doctors, and university employees across the country as the leading Wealth Manager to clients in the academic, medical, and cultural fields. Kevin is President of McNab Financial, LLC and is a CFP®, ChFC®, and CRPC®. This article is not intended to contain investment or tax advice. Please contact your investment and tax professional to discuss investments discussed in this article. McNab Financial, LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Colorado. Kevin McNab is The Professor’s Advisor!