PRESS RELEASE: TIAA-CREF Expands Suite of Responsible Investment Funds
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services organization, today announced the launch of TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund and TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, mutual funds that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as part of their security selection process. The TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund seeks long term capital appreciation by investing in the securities of companies in developed international markets outside of the United States that are best-in-class ESG leaders within their respective sectors. The TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund seeks long term capital appreciation as a diversified domestic equity fund that combines comprehensive ESG criteria and an additional focus on companies’ current and future carbon emissions.
The Social Choice International Equity Fund and Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund will provide investors with the opportunity to achieve competitive returns while promoting broader economic development, positive societal outcomes and a healthier environment. They will employ comprehensive ESG criteria as part of their investment processes and complement the firm’s existing portfolio of ESG-focused mutual funds, which includes the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund (TICRX, TRSCX, TISCX, TRPSX) and the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Bond Fund (TSBIX, TSBBX, TSBRX, TSBPX). The addition of the Social Choice International Equity Fund and the Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund to TIAA-CREF’s suite of Social Choice funds enables investors to build a fully diversified investment portfolio of ESG-focused funds.
The TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund will use the MSCI EAFE Index as its benchmark while TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Fund will benchmark investments against the Russell 3000 Index and employ a proprietary quantitative process and industry-recognized risk model to match the long-term performance of the U.S. equity market.
According to data from the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (USSIF), sustainable, responsible and impact investing assets (SRI) in the U.S. now account for 18% of professionally-managed assets, having increased by 76% to $6.6 trillion over the past two years.
“We’re seeing a steady increase in the level of interest in responsible investing as millennials and other investors look to deploy their capital in ways that achieve their financial goals while being consistent with their values,” said Amy O’Brien, head of Responsible Investment at TIAA-CREF Asset Management. “Responsible investing is part of our organizational DNA and we’re delighted to continue our 40 years of experience in this field with the introduction of these timely and innovative mutual funds.”
As part of its ESG evaluation process, TIAA-CREF assesses securities eligible for its Social Choice funds based on demonstrated ESG leadership in their respective sectors, including impact on stakeholders such as employees, communities, customers, suppliers and the environment. In addition, companies are evaluated on industry-specific ESG criteria such as natural resource usage, effect on climate change, supply chain practices and corporate governance. The TIAA-CREF Low Carbon Equity Fund applies another layer of criteria that takes into account current and future carbon emissions.
Both funds will be managed by Philip James (Jim) Campagna and Lei Liao, with the active involvement of TIAA-CREF’s Responsible Investment team in assessing the ESG qualifications of the securities selected for the portfolios. Mr. Campagna and Mr. Liao currently serve as co-portfolio managers for all TIAA-CREF equity index funds and ESG-focused portfolios and have 24 and 11 years of investment experience respectively. The Responsible Investment team includes seven dedicated investment professionals accountable for the firm’s ESG and impact investing capabilities, is led by Ms. O’Brien, and oversees TIAA-CREF’s responsible investment strategy and evaluation process.
TIAA-CREF was one of the first financial companies in the United States to offer individual investors access to responsible investments with the launch of its CREF Social Choice Account in 1990. Today, TIAA-CREF is one of the largest asset managers in the space, with over $18 billion in assets under management in its Social Choice suite and a commitment to integrating ESG information in its investment decision-making processes firm-wide.
The Social Choice Low Carbon Equity and Social Choice International Equity Funds’ retail class shares (TLWCX and TSORX) are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or directly by contacting TIAA-CREF at 800-223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement (TEWCX and TSOEX) and premier (TPWCX and TSOPX) class shares are available through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts such as TIAA-CREF IRAs. Institutional (TNWCX and TSONX) class shares are available for purchase directly from TIAA-CREF by certain eligible investors or through financial intermediaries.