How Will the TIAA Buyouts Affect Nuveen?
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Monday, August 03, 2020

How Will the TIAA Buyouts Affect Nuveen?

A financial services provider with a giant asset management arm about to shrink by about ten percent in terms of staff, thanks to a buyout program. Yet the asset manager's investment team will not slim down as much.

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
President and CEO
In May, leadership at Nuveen's parent company, TIAA, offered 75 percent of its employees a buyout package, the Voluntary Separation Program (VSP). Employees had until mid-July to decide whether or not they would like to accept, and a TIAA spokesperson confirms that between four and five percent of Nuveen's investment personnel chose to participate in the TSP. That compares with the whole of TIAA, whose headcount will drop by about 10 percent thanks to the VSP, "factoring in planned backfills and strategic hiring," the spokesperson says.

"That rate [for Nuveen's investment team] is comparable to our turnover rate for investment personnel for all of 2019 of just under 5%, among the lowest in the asset-management industry," the TIAA spokesperson tells MFwire in an email.

All decisions about which VSP requests will be granted (and which won't) have already been made, the spokeperson says, and communications are underway. The spokesperson adds that all TIAA employees who applied for the VSP should hear back by the end of this week.

"Most associates electing to participate in the program will not be departing until early November, providing ample opportunity to properly transition relationships, historical knowledge, materials and other aspects of our client support," the spokesperson continues. "While our aim was to honor requests from associates who opted for the VSP, our leadership had discretion to decline any request and retain an employee if doing so would be in the best interest of our clients and our firm."

"We will be backfilling some client-facing positions and we expect the number of RMs and CSMs TIAA employs will remain the same even though there will be some departures and additions as a result of VSP," the spokesperson notes.

The VSP offer included between 45 and 91 weeks of the employee's salary (depending on tenure), 100 percent of the employee's 2019 bonus, half a year of "outplacement assistance," and up to 18 months of TIAA-subsidized medical coverage under cobra.

"We are committed to making strategic hires as needed to support our mission and have the means to do so," the TIAA spokesperson tells MFWire.

"In addition to being operationally healthy, Nuveen is also financially sound, winning new clients and mandates and expanding our business with current clients," the TIAA spokesperson tells MFWire. "We do not undertake expense-management programs lightly, but in the current environment, we believe taking proactive, prudent measures to protect our clients' long-term interests is the right thing to do."

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