New TIAA-CREF Policy Brief Calls on Shareholders to Take an Active Role in Corporate Governance

Responsible Investing and Corporate Governance: Lessons Learned from the Crises of the Past Decade

New York, February 2, 2010

Long-term investors with a focus on overseeing their investments will play a vital role in improving governing practices of companies in which they invest, which can in turn help to avoid future financial crises, according to a new policy brief released today by TIAA-CREF.

The policy brief calls on shareholders to take a more active role in corporate governance, and outlines their role in safeguarding portfolio companies and financial markets from future breakdowns.

"It is imperative that large long-term investors such as retirement systems and mutual funds - to which millions of investors entrust their savings - encourage portfolio companies to adopt governing practices that promote sustainable growth and lead to long-term value creation," said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF.

TIAA-CREF's policy brief highlights lessons from the corporate and financial crises of the past decade, and recommends measures that will enable long-term institutional shareholders to uphold their responsibilities as shareholders.

"Potential steps that are being discussed in Congress and by the Administration that afford shareholders added rights are necessary, but just the first step," said Hye-Won Choi, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Governance for TIAA-CREF. "These new rules will bring about meaningful reforms only if shareholders use them responsibly to hold companies accountable for increasing long-term value."

As one of the world's largest private retirement systems, TIAA-CREF has been promoting sound governing practices at companies in which it invests for decades. The organization maintains a professional Corporate Governance staff that manages shareholder advocacy programs, engagement initiatives and votes proxies. TIAA-CREF's program is overseen by the Committees on Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility, a joint committee of the Trustees of TIAA and CREF.

TIAA-CREF's policy brief (PDF) is now available. The policy brief should be read in conjunction with TIAA-CREF's Policy Statement on Corporate Governance (PDF).

TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with more than $402 billion in combined assets under management as of September 30, 2009 and the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

Media Contact:

Chad Peterson, Director, Corporate Media Relations, 704 988-6811 Cell: 1 917 715-9083

Abby Aylman Cohen, Manager, Corporate Media Relations, 212 916-4381 Cell: 1 917 596-4758

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., members FINRA, distribute securities products.

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