TIAA (formerly known as TIAA-CREF) is an investment advisor that advertises itself as a committed company guided by “high ethical standards.” This reputation is now in serious danger after multiple revelations regarding the company’s alleged wrongdoing and hidden profit-driven culture. Just in the last couple of years, TIAA paid $5 million over excessive fees for 401(k) accounts, settled claims that it violated ERISA provisions by delaying investors’ transfer requests, and, according to the New York Times, has a pending SEC whistleblower claim against it for improperly upselling customers from low-fee to high-fee accounts.
TIAA, as a retirement investment advisor, is subject to the fiduciary rules regulated by the Department of Labor. Those rules are intended to protect investors from exactly the sort of conflicts of interest alleged in the various suits against TIAA. The fate of those rules is currently up in the air, as the Labor Department has announced a delay in their full implementation. The latest revelations about TIAA may affect the broader conversation about those rules—or maybe not.
What do you think? Will the TIAA Fraud Revelations Affect the Fate of the Fiduciary Rules?
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