Investing with Integrity

Mary Brunson
Thursday, September 5, 2013

It started with a vision—a hope really... a few of us came together and we discussed the challenges surrounding church retirement plans... How could we improve the experiences of Catholic retirement plan sponsors and their participants?... we dared to dream... and the vision became even larger... We asked: "What if, we could take everything we know about retirement plan best practices... what if we could help streamline administration, consolidate payroll, help plan sponsors provide more efficient plans ... lower costs...reduce plan sponsor fiduciary responsibility... give participants investments built for them... AND what if they had the opportunity to invest in Catholic faith based portfolios? And then we realized we had the potential to make a lasting and beneficial impact in Catholic church retirement plans... we'd bring best practices and fiduciary protection to plan sponsors by focusing on solutions that make a difference in the lives of participants & their families.

TIAA-CREF brings a unique perspective to Catholic retirement plans. They were formed as a non-profit committed to serving non-profits. They were founded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1918, to provide financial security in retirement to employees of non-profit organizations. Today, their organization is the steward of more than $520 billion in retirement assets-and we are the not-profit market leader for higher education, k-12, and religious. 

This stewardship positions them at the forefront of market thought leadership, best practices, and product and service innovation-all to the benefit of plan sponsors and participants...They are committed to serving those who serve others and have an understanding of the retirement income needs of their participants, and the administrative and fiduciary requirements of plan sponsors that together provide "financial services for the greater good."

This is more than a tag line. It is integral to their culture and it's in their DNA. And those processes have served them well when others have struggled, even failed. TIAA-CREF's long history of financial strength and stability is a real benefit to their plan sponsors and participants. They have received the highest ratings from independent rating agencies. Their strength is a direct result of our firm-wide dedication to stringent risk management. 

They have teamed up with Investing for Catholics-IFC—to bring a best practices approach to retirement plans of religious organizations. They bring experience in plan administration, plan design, implementation, and everything they have learned over the decades about what works for real people who commit their lives' work to helping others-and just want security that comes from sound savings and proper investing.  

Proper investing is not an art - it's a science - and at IFC, we focus on investing science. Our firm's prudent process for investment selection is based on long-term and ongoing academic research that leads the way for harnessing the long-term risks and returns of the global capital markets.

Investing For Catholics and TIAA-CREF's success is a result of our process-daily implemented, and unbending. As part of IFC's offering for Catholic retirement plans, we build, manage, and monitor target date retirement funds-with a process that focuses on keeping costs low, helping participants keep more of their money-saving more, investing prudently. It's a powerful combination that, over time, makes a big difference in retirement outcomes. 

This is a ground-breaking solution for Catholic organizations. Every participant deserves the opportunity to invest in a whole portfolio-with one check box. No more long lists of confusing fund choices, no more worry over rebalancing to lower risk over time.

The Faith Based Target Retirement funds follow participants as they age, lowering risk as they move to and through retirement. Target date funds have become very desirable in plan investment lineups, but the faith-based initiative is a watershed moment. Finally, prudent investments that deliver the risks and returns of the global markets, easily implemented-no guesswork-and Catholics can invest Catholic. 

Yes, we are a part of something big-and we are excited to share it with you.