Few companies would seem more perfectly positioned to benefit from the 78 million wave of Baby Boomers retiring in the coming decades than TIAA-CREF, which, since established by Andrew Carnegie in 1918 as the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, has been known for retirement services.
It's Maliz Beams' job to make sure that TIAA-CREF positions itself properly to ride that wave by offering individuals and institutions the advice they need. She oversees all of TIAA-CREF's areas responsible for Individual and Institutional Client Services, including the company's wealth management group; advice and planning; insurance, trust, brokerage and wealth product management; telephone counseling centers; on-campus field consulting group and institutional relationships. She also serves as president and CEO of TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services and as a member of the company's executive management team.
The company has $420 billion in assets under management, and has seen new assets under management in the wealth management group grow 35 percent year-over-year as of September 1; today TIAA-CREF is the single largest provider of retirement income in the U.S., distributing $10 billion annually.
Beams has nearly 30 years of experience; prior to joining TIAA-CREF in 2004 she was a partner and managing director of Zurich Scudder Investments. Since coming aboard, the major initiative at the nonprofit has been building out the advice platform. Now, with that program in place, TIAA-CREF can help clients manage across all their financial relationships for the purposes of risk management, tax efficiency, income and estate planning.
"The main question is, 'Are we delivering industry-distinctive value?'" Beams says. The company talks with 17,000 customers every day and speaks in person with 150,000 a year.
Of those asked if they would like to schedule a wealth management advice session, more than 80 percent say yes, compared to an industry response average of two to seven percent, she says. What's more, an independent auditor hired by TIAA-CREF has found that more than 80 percent of those who've had the session rate the value of those services as superior to competitors. That attention to customer satisfaction has led directly to the company's success in asset gathering, Beams says.
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