Placing orders

Frequently asked questions

All FAQs about placing orders

Place an order within your account by logging into your Brokerage account on Once within your Brokerage account, click the Trade button located toward the top of the page. Select the type of investment you would like to trade and follow the screens to enter and place your order.

You can also navigate right to the Brokerage trade ticket from within the Actions menu located at the top of the page. Scroll to the Brokerage section and select Trade from the menu choices.

We also offer on-the-go trading through the TIAA Mobile app for iOS and Android devices. 

Steps to placing orders in Self-Directed Brokerage Account of retirement plans differ based upon the program type:

Enhanced program (mutual funds only): Once your Brokerage account is open, you can place an order using the same basic steps that you would take to change investments amongst the plan lineup investment choices.

Log into your account on Select the Actions menu at the top of the page, then select Change investments under the Retirement plans section. Select Exchange and navigate into the account where you'd like to make the changes. Follow the prompts on the screen to transfer from (sell) and transfer to (buy) investments amongst the choices available or search for brokerage investments.

Standard program (mutual funds, ETFs and/or other individual securities): Once your Brokerage account is open, you would follow similar steps outlined above for the Enhanced plan to sell an investment in the plan lineup and have the proceeds moved into the money market of your Self-directed Brokerage Account. On the following business day, you will be able to place a trade within the Brokerage account.

To place a trade in the Brokerage account, log into your Brokerage account on Navigate to the Brokerage trade ticket from within the Actions menu located at the top of the page. Scroll to the Brokerage section and select Trade from the menu choices or click Trade from the QUICK LINKS on the Account Summary page.

Select the type of investment you would like to trade and follow the screens to enter and place your order.

Commissions and fees vary based on the type of investment you are buying or selling, whether you place the order online or through an alternate channel and whether or not there are any additional services needed to complete your order. For example, commissions for online stock trades have a $0 commission; however, if you are selling a foreign security, additional commission and fees apply.

See the full Commission and Fee Schedule within the Customer Account Agreement (within the Agreements & Disclosures section) or contact TIAA Brokerage for more information. Consultants are available weekdays, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. ET.

Stock markets trade Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET, except for holidays. For the current holiday schedule.

Orders received during pre, post or closed market hours are held in "pending status" awaiting review before the market opens for the next trading session. At that time the order status will be updated.

Due to the lack of price transparency and the volatility of these stocks, it is TIAA Brokerage's policy to not allow purchases.

Funds are available for trading once a bank transfer/check/wire deposit has been posted to an account. For all deposits, you will be able to buy marginable securities as soon as your account is funded. However, there is a 7-10 business-day hold placed on all checks/bank transfer deposits before you may withdraw funds from your account or buy non-marginable securities.

The hold period does not apply to funds wired into your TIAA Brokerage account via Federal Funds Wire.

The settlement date is the date when a trade (buy or sell) is final. If you are buying securities, this is the day that you must pay for your investment (money must be in the account). If you are selling securities, this is the day that you'll receive the money for your securities. The settlement date, not the trade date, is the day that the legal ownership transfers from seller to buyer.

The settlement date for stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and bonds is usually two business days after the execution (trade date); often referred to as T+2. For government securities and options, it's the next business day (T+1). Mutual funds settle between one and three business days, depending on the fund company and the fund type. Equity and bond funds tend to settle within one day (T+1) while commodity and other types of funds take up to three business days (T+3).

Trade commissions and transaction fees are paid from the available cash/margin balance within your brokerage account. Keep in mind, you must have enough to cover the entire purchase and any applicable fees or the trade may be rejected.

Many funds impose their own rules and restrictions. Mutual fund shares are offered by prospectus only. The prospectus contains the fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Additionally, the prospectus contains other valuable information you should carefully consider before making a purchase. Before investing in a mutual fund, be sure to carefully consider the fund's investing objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

The following guidelines apply to mutual fund trading:

  • A prospectus will be sent to you at your request, on execution of an initial purchase, annually, or when the prospectus is updated. Mutual fund information is subject to change at any time and without notice. Mutual fund companies update their information frequently. TIAA Brokerage cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information, but we will send you an updated prospectus if changes are made by the investment companies for the funds you hold in your account.
  • Mutual funds are generally considered to be a longer term investment. Some funds may require a minimum holding period before allowing a redemption. Most mutual funds cannot be sold on or before the purchase settlement date.
  • Some funds charge an early redemption fee if they are sold before a stated time period. Please refer to the prospectus to see if these conditions apply. All No Transaction Fee (NTF) funds held six months or less are subject to a short-term redemption fee of $50.00. This fee is in addition to any fees addressed in the fund's prospectus.
  • Each mutual fund has minimum initial purchase requirements and may also have requirements for subsequent purchases. The required amount may vary if the account is an IRA. Fees may apply for purchases below minimums.
  • Cut-off times for the purchase and redemption of mutual fund shares can vary, usually from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, and are subject to change at any time. Orders placed after the cut-off time will be processed on the following business day.
  • Settlement periods vary by fund and are subject to change without notice, typically between one to three days. The settlement process may affect whether you can reinvest the proceeds in another security.
  • TIAA Brokerage allows you to choose whether to reinvest dividends and capital gains or receive as cash. If you are utilizing an automatic investment plan, the instructions will apply to subsequent purchases. If you exchange the mutual fund for another within the same fund company, the initial instructions will carry over to the new fund. You may change these instructions online.
  • To make regular purchases or redemptions from your mutual fund(s) you can establish recurring mutual fund purchase/redemption plans. You may also set up recurring electronic funds transfers (bank transfer) to fund a recurring purchase. 

Here are some common mistakes investors make:

-Overspend the balance within their cash sweep.
-Buy and sell the same lot of shares on the same day.
-Purchase a security using an unsettled credit.
-Sell a security that hasn't yet settled.

We want your trades to proceed without issue. We can, however, restrict trading in your account if your transactions violate industry regulations or the Customer Account Agreement. Here are some tips to help you avoid order delays, rejections or trade restrictions:

-Maintain a sufficient cash sweep balance to cover the cost of all purchases, including commissions, fees, and potential market fluctuations of the security you're buying.

-Before you place a trade, make sure you have enough money. Check your account's funds available to trade and funds available to withdraw. 

-Wait for securities to settle in your account before you sell them.

-Consider adding margin for non-retirement accounts.

-Review settlement dates of securities sales that have generated unsettled credits, if you intend to make a purchase.

-Take note when buying a security using unsettled funds. You'll incur a violation if you sell that security before the funds used to buy it settle.

Some trading activities within a cash accountOpens in a new window can lead to restrictions on your account. We can place restrictions on your account for trading practices that violate industry regulations or the Customer Account Agreement.

Details about trading violations

Engaging in freeriding, liquidations resulting from unsettled trades, trade liquidations and marketing-timing will limit your flexibility to make new purchases.

Freeriding occurs when you buy and sell securities in a cash account without covering the initial purchase.

Example: You have $1,000 in your cash sweep. You place a market order to purchase $1,000 worth of XYZ stock. The market moves and the order is executed at $1,200, leaving $200 due to settle this transaction. Later that day, the price of XYZ stock increases and you sell XYZ stock for $1,500. Because you purchased with more cash than you had on hand and a $200 cash deposit wasn’t received to cover the initial purchase, the transaction is considered a “Freeride.” 

Penalty: Your account is restricted for 90 days. During this time, you must have settled funds available before you can make a purchase.

Unsettled trades liquidations (Good Faith Violation) occurs when you buy a security in a cash account using sales proceeds that haven't yet settled. Then you sell the recently purchased security before the settlement of the initial sale.

Example: On Monday, you sell XYZ stock for $5,000. Then, on Tuesday you use $3,000 of the unsettled funds from XYZ to purchase ABC stock. Later Tuesday, you notice the price of ABC stock increases and you sell the entire ABC position. Because ABC was bought and sold with unsettled funds, the transaction is considered an “Unsettled trade liquidation.”

On Wednesday, you buy stock B. You must pay for it on Friday (the second day after the trade was placed). But on Wednesday, you decide to sell stock B. Because the sale of stock A hasn't settled, you paid for stock B with unsettled funds.

Penalty: Any 3 violations in a rolling 52-week period trigger a 90-day funds-on-hand restriction. During this time, you must have settled funds available before you can make a purchase.

Late sale or trade liquidations (Cash Liquidation Violation) occurs when you buy a security without enough funds to cover the purchase and sell another, at a later date, in a cash account. The settlement of the buy and the subsequent sell don't match, which is a violation. This is also known as a "late sale."

Example: You have $2,000 in your cash sweep. On Wednesday, you place a trade to purchase $2,000 worth of XYZ stock. The market moves and the order is executed at $2,100. The next day, you notice the trade exceeded your available funds and decide to liquidate $100 of ABC stock to cover the amount due. Because the $100 from the sale of ABC stock does not settle until after the XYZ purchase settles, a “Late Sale Liquidation” has occurred. 

Penalty: Any 3 violations in a rolling 52-week period trigger a 90-day funds-on-hand restriction. During this time, you must have settled funds available before you can make a purchase.

Frequent trading or market-timing occurs when some investors try to profit from strategies involving frequent trading of mutual funds, such as market-timing. They buy in and sell out of a fund excessively, which can disrupt the fund's management and result in higher costs that are borne by all of the fund's shareholders.

Example: Excessive purchase and redemption activity within the same fund. Excessive exchange activity between 2 or more funds within a short time frame.

Penalty: TIAA and the fund families reserve the right to decline a transaction if it appears you're engaging in frequent-trading practices, such as market-timing. In addition, when you sell a No Transaction Fee mutual fund, that you have owned for less than a year, you may incur a short-term redemption fee.

The wash sale rule prohibits selling a security at a loss and buying that same security or a “substantially identical” security 30 days before or after the date of the sale. If a wash sale has occurred, the IRS will not allow you to write off the loss which may increase your overall tax liabilities. Wash sale activities are reflected on your tax document and transaction confirmations. Consult your tax advisor for any questions pertaining to wash sale rules.

TIAA Brokerage doesn’t participate in IPO subscriptions or offer securities that are not trading publicly. Prior to trading publicly, TIAA Brokerage can accept purchase limit orders (Good for the Day), after the security has been publicly priced (typically the day before the security begins trading on a public exchange).

Orders cannot be submitted online on or before the initial day of public trading; call TIAA Brokerage at 800-842-2252, weekdays 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET to place your order. Typically, orders for the security can be placed online the business day following the first day of public trading.

Mutual funds trade once per day, at the end of the market day. Mutual fund orders place prior to the fund cutoff time, will receive the closing Net Asset Value (NAV). Orders placed after the cutoff time will receive the NAV of the following business day. The NAV for your mutual fund order can be reviewed within the order details in Activity.

Recurring automated purchases of individual securities including stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are not currently available.

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TIAA Brokerage, a division of TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Member FINRAOpens in a new window and SIPCOpens in a new window, distributes securities. Brokerage accounts are carried by Pershing, LLC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, Member FINRA, NYSE, SIPC.