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Ask Roger: Questions for TIAA-CREF's CEO

TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson (left) with Alan Greenspan, during Ferguson's tenure as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/AFP/Getty Images.

TIAA-CREF is one of the largest financial services companies in the United States. It manages retirement plans for nearly 4 million people in this country, mostly employees of universities and non-profits.

Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland and Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal will be talking to Roger Ferguson, TIAA-CREF's chief executive officer, in a couple weeks for an upcoming segment from our Conversations From the Corner Office.

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Post a comment below if you have a question for Ferguson. Include your name and home town so we can credit you properly.

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About the author

Matt Berger is the former Digital Director at Marketplace.
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I was heartened to hear that TIAA CREF divested from the Sudan. Is TIAA CREF open to a similar process regarding divestment from Israel's Occupation?

TIAA CREF specializes in retirement planning for those in higer education, including educators, administration and staff. While there are some economist and finace professors in that clientle, there are many more people who need assistance with their retirement and regular finacial planning.

your predicessor, Herb Allison came from the private sector and emphasised growing the number of representatives available to clients both in the field and available on the phone. He belived that having someone available to talk to was better than the organization's previous reliance on booklets and pamphlets. He also emphasised spending on technology and attempting to grow the business beyond the core focus on education, and increasingly competitive area, in order to diversify the investor base in TIAA CREF's investment products.

In looking at your performance in the last few years you have cut back on staff and spending, and cut back on marketing to a more diverse clientle. Is this a reaction to the troubles in the economy, and possibly troubles in TIAA CREF itself? What is the reasoning for turning around a progression towards more a customer service oriented orginization?

Michael Edwards
Dallas, TX

There was a time when TIAA-CREF had a newsletter...one issue of which pictured their cycling team. Have both newsletter and cycling team been abandoned?

So too, at one time TIAA-CREF statements labelled accumulations as "death benefit amounts." What about expectations of TIAA-CREF accumulations with respect to next-of-kin...is it limited to spouse or can children be named?

What do you find most frustrating about the current financial situation? What do you want to say to your clients?

M Santiano
Indianapolis, IN

As a financial adviser, or manager of a large financial management and advice firm, how do you persuade your clients to be realistic? It seems to me, many people (myself included) get stars in their eyes about double-digit returns and early retirement. How does TIAA-CREF talk people out of taking inappropriate risks, and guide them toward a realistic, achievable goal?

Nathan Bishop
Albuquerque, NM

Why is Caterpillar, which sells weaponized bulldozers to the Israeli army, part of your most socially responsible portfolio, Social Choice? This doesn't make sense to me.

I was heartened to hear that TIAA CREF divested from the Sudan. Is TIAA CREF open to a similar process regarding divestment from Israel's Occupation?

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