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TIAA-CREF to Boost Advisor Headcount by 45%

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TIAA-CREF will expand its Individual Advisory Services group by more than 45% by the end of 2014, adding more than 200 financial advisors to bring the total to 650, the Fortune 100 financial services firm announced Wednesday.

Hiring from banks, independent broker-dealers and wirehouses, IAS has grown from 260 client-facing advisors at the start of 2012 to its current level of 445. The firm’s advisors work with clients with a minimum of $250,000 of investable assets across the country, providing personalized financial planning and advice over the phone, online or in person at one of TIAA-CREF’s more than 90 offices nationwide. TIAA-CREF also plans to expand the number of local offices offering advisory services to more than 120 by the end of 2014.

The demand for additional advisors stemmed from greater client demand for individual attention, according to Kathie Andrade, executive vice president, head of Individual Advisory Services at TIAA-CREF.

“Our consultative, needs-based approach to financial planning and advice is helping establish a new standard in the market and creating significant client interest that we need more advisors to meet,” Andrade said in a statement. “Our experience shows personalized advice makes a big difference in clients’ retirement preparedness. In fact, those who receive advice from TIAA-CREF are five times more confident about their retirement than the average American worker.”

IAS advisors work with an existing base of clients in both a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer capacity. TIAA-CREF offers retirement plan advice at no additional cost to clients. To manage the rapid growth of its advisor headcount,  IAS offers programs including mentorship, peer coaching and ongoing training on investments, wealth management, new financial tools and company products.

Headquartered in New York City, TIAA-CREF has $523 billion in assets under management and serves 3.9 working and retired individuals. Much of the firm, founded by the Carnegie Foundation in 1918 when it created the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, operates on a nonprofit basis. The College Retirement Equities Fund joined on in 1952, and Congress eliminated TIAA-CREF’s tax-exempt status in 1998.

Read Americans Don’t Know Who to Trust on Money Matters: TIAA-CREF Survey at ThinkAdvisor.