- Applies a broad stakeholder lens to promote long-term value for clients
- Outlines expectations of portfolios’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and practices
- Recognizes that material ESG issues have increasing relevance across asset classes
- Sets forth proxy voting guidelines, including strengthened guidance on board refreshment and board diversity
New York, April 3, 2019 – TIAA today released a newly revised edition of the TIAA Policy Statement on Responsible Investing (the “Policy”)i. Now in its seventh edition, the purpose of the Policy is to publicly express TIAA’s commitment to responsible investing (RI), highlight the benefits RI approaches bring to clients and outline the key activities used to put the organization’s aspiration into action.
The Policy was last updated in 2011, and since that time, TIAA and Nuveen, which is responsible for managing TIAA’s assets and executing the Policyii on behalf of its parent, have significantly advanced a wide range of responsible investing activities, including the recognition that material ESG issues have increasing investment relevance across asset classes. Additionally, the redesigned Policy now takes a more holistic approach to responsible investing by identifying the interconnections between ESG issues and their impact on stakeholders. The Policy encourages companies to consider the impact of their operations on a broader set of stakeholders beyond just shareholders, including customers, employees, suppliers and the larger community.
"Our participants and clients expect us to be good stewards of their investments as we help them pursue financial well-being at all stages of life,” said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and chief executive officer of TIAA. “This Policy provides a framework for engagement with portfolio companies and embodies our longstanding view that responsible investing provides enduring benefits for our clients and our communities.”
The Policy was developed in close collaboration with the investment teams at Nuveen, providing a deep connection to the responsible investing activity already being implemented across the organization. It describes the firm’s responsible investing program and philosophy, and outlines three core principles – engagement, ESG integration and impact – which are critical to unlocking investment potential while also delivering positive social and environmental results.
- Engagement: using our influence with companies and issuers to help them innovate and operate more effectively, and partnering with stakeholders to define and advance environmental, social and governance best practices
- ESG Integration: building out the financial relevance of material ESG themes and factors, and facilitating systematic access to and uptake of quality ESG information in the investment process
- Impact: assessing the effects that our investments have on society and the environment and, where possible, promoting the positive and mitigating the negative
"The updated Policy further advances our historical responsible investing leadership and codifies our existing multi-faceted efforts to incorporate ESG factors into our investment process to enhance long-term performance and manage risks," said Amy O’Brien, senior managing director and global head of responsible investing at Nuveen. “The Policy strengthens our long-standing views on governance, which emphasize accountability, transparency and business ethics as a necessary foundation for operating and investing responsibly.”
Updated TIAA Proxy Voting Guidelines
Additionally, the Policy includes a detailed section on TIAA’s proxy voting guidelines, organized by key themes, including issues surrounding boards and directors, shareholder rights, executive compensation, the environment, customers, employees, suppliers and communities. The guidelines are intended to summarize TIAA’s general philosophy and approach to ESG issues that most commonly arise in proxy voting. In each situation, proxy voting is executed on a thoughtful, case-by-case basis, which is informed by the view of investment colleagues as well as company performance.
The updated Policy Statement includes strengthened proxy voting guidance on board accountability with an emphasis on the interconnection between the topics of board diversity and board refreshment.
- Board Diversity: The firm will consider voting against nominating and governance committee members when there is no gender diversity on the board.
- Board Refreshment: The firm will now consider voting against nominating and governance committee members when the average tenure is greater than 12 years and there has been no refreshment in the last 5 years.
The updated proxy voting guidelines on these issues reflect the organization’s belief that diverse and inclusive boards can foster a broader range of viewpoints and independent thinking. In addition, it formalizes the organization’s view that a mix of director tenures can support a board’s overall quality of composition, continuity and independence. It also reinforces the firm’s gender diversity policy, since boards with higher-than-average tenures tend to also have a lower proportion of women directors.
A copy of the Policy Statement is available at: https://www.tiaa.org/public/pdf/ri_policy.pdf .
With an award-winningiii track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( TIAA.org) is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has nearly $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 12/31/2018iv) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.
Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, offers a comprehensive range of outcome-focused investment solutions designed to secure the long-term financial goals of institutional and individual investors. Nuveen has $930 billion in assets under management as of 31 December 2018 and operations in 23 countries. Its affiliates offer deep expertise across a comprehensive range of traditional and alternative investments through a wide array of vehicles and customized strategies. For more information, please visit www.nuveen.com .
Mary Ellen Higgins