Despite strong variable annuity sales and better than average performance, TIAA-CREF's ability to continue adding assets at this pace has analysts split.

The company had variable annuity sales in the first quarter of nearly $3.5 billion, trailing only MetLife Inc.'s $3.7 billion, according to data from Limra International. In terms of total annuity sales, TIAA-CREF ranked third.

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