TIAA-CREF Releases Participant Survey on
Thursday July 13, 10:00 am ET, 2006
NEW YORK, July 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TIAA-CREF, the financial
services organization and leading provider of retirement plans in the
academic, medical and cultural fields, today released results of a
comprehensive survey of participants on issues related to socially
"This survey affirms that our participants want a secure retirement and
investment decision making that is driven by financial returns," said
Scott C. Evans, Executive Vice President and Head of Asset Management.
"It also illustrates that many participants think about the
environmental and social impact of their investments."
The survey sought to examine participants' attitudes around Socially
Responsible Investing (SRI), to gauge their knowledge of and commitment
to TIAA-CREF's SRI strategies, and to inform the company's SRI
strategies moving forward.
Washington-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the
research in February 2006. A total of 1002 interviews were conducted
with TIAA-CREF Participants: 501 with those who invest in the CREF
Social Choice Account (SCA) and 501 who do not invest in the CREF SCA.
There is a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.
Among the findings:
- Financial return is a strong priority for TIAA-CREF
participants. 42% of
participants who are not invested in the CREF Social Choice Account
(SCA) and 34% who are invested in it strongly agree with the
that financial return is most important when making investment
decisions. A total of 91% of non-SCA participants and 85% of SCA
participants agree with the statement (somewhat agree and strongly
- TIAA-CREF participants also want their social values reflected
investments. Over a quarter (27%) of SCA participants strongly agree
and a total of 83% agree with the statement that "ensuring that my
investment decisions reflect my personal values about social and
environmental impacts" is most important when making investment
decisions. Just 15% of non-SCA participants strongly agree with this
statement, but a total of more than two-thirds (67%) agree with the
- TIAA-CREF participants have a deep need for more information
strategies and accounts, and there is room to attract more interest
socially responsible investing. 60% of non-SCA investors describe
themselves as unfamiliar with the CREF Social Choice Account and
24% of SCA participants say they are very familiar with it.
- SCA and non-SCA participants have slightly different views on
- Among SCA participants, social screening is most important (81%
it was important, 38% very important), followed nearly equally by
community investing (74% important, 21% very important) and
shareholder activism (70% important, 26% very important).
- Non-SCA participants rank all three strategies about the same,
slightly lower than SCA participants (67% said shareholder activism
was important, 23% very important; 65% said social screening was
important, 19% very important; and 66% said community investing was
important, 17% very important)
"There is an opportunity to educate participants about socially
responsible investing generally and about opportunities that TIAA-CREF
offers," said Amy O'Brien, TIAA-CREF's Director of Social Investing. "We
now have a baseline of information of how our participants view socially
responsible investing and the issues and strategies they currently find
Last month TIAA-CREF announced the formation of a new Social and
Community Investing Department within its Asset Management area. The
CREF Social Choice Account is the world's largest social screened
investment fund for individual investors with just over $8 billion in
"TIAA-CREF's in-depth participant survey provides a fascinating snapshot
of the views of its investors about social investing at present and
their expectations for the future," said Tim Smith, President of Social
Investment Forum and Senior Vice President of Walden Asset Management.
"The TIAA-CREF survey is a signal of what many other investors will
expect of their investments in terms of screening, shareholder advocacy
and community investing. Its findings are also a significant statement
for the whole social investment industry."
The survey also found that majorities of SCA and non-SCA participants
buy organic food (61 percent SCA, 48 percent non-SCA) and would consider
buying a hybrid car (76 percent SCA, 69 percent non-SCA). They also say
that they try to purchase products from companies where they approve of
corporate practices (71 percent SCA, 59 percent non-SCA) and boycott
products where they disapprove of corporate practices (77 percent SCA,
67 percent non-SCA).
"The survey also indicates that our participants take other
opportunities to express their values through purchasing and other
consumer behavior, when it comes to spending their own money on socially
responsible products and services," said O'Brien.
For a report on the findings from the survey, please visit http://www.tiaa-cref.org.
TIAA-CREF is a national financial services organization with more than
$380 billion in combined assets under management (3/31/06) and the
leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research,
medical and cultural fields. Further information can be found at
About TIAA-CREF Social Choice
Initially developed in the 1980s, CREF Social Choice Account has grown
into the world's largest social screened investment fund for individual
investors with just over $8 billion in assets (03/31/06).
Annuity account options are available through contracts issued by TIAA
or CREF. These contracts are designed for retirement or other long-term
goals, and offer a variety of income options, including lifetime income.
Payments from the variable annuity accounts [and mutual funds] are not
guaranteed and will rise or fall based on investment performance.
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, and Teachers
Personal Investors Services, Inc., distribute securities products.