In 1918, Andrew Carnegie and his Carnegie Foundation established
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (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. After World War II, in reaction to
rising inflation and lengthening life expectancies, 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") for that purpose.
TIAA-CREF is a Fortune 100 financial services company that is the
leading retirement system for people who work in the academic,
research, medical and cultural fields. TIAA-CREF serves 3.6 million
active and retired employees participating in more than 27,000
retirement plans and has $363 billion in combined assets under
On January 4, 2010, TIAA-CREF announced its divestiture of holdings in PetroChina, CNPC Hong Kong, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, and Sinopec because those companies maintain business relations with the government of Sudan and are furthering the suffering and genocide in Darfur.
Obviously, TIAA-CREF is not some fly-by-night Wall Street outfight but often regarded as among the cream of FINRA's member firm crop. As such, I was taken aback when I noted that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had just posted an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) settlement involving TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services LLC.
According to the AWC, TIAA-CREF failed to