IT Issues Resurface at TIAA-CREF 2

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-10-23 Print this article Print

Complaints are piling up at the regulatory oversight board.

The IT issues at the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, one of the nation's largest private retirement systems, have once again reared an ugly head.

Increasing problems with TIAA-CREF forwarded to eWEEK from disgruntled customers, coupled with a seemingly large number of complaints filed with TIAA-CREF's New York oversight board, point to still unresolved issues at one of the nation's largest pension fund holders.

Andrew Mais, a spokesperson for the New York State Insurance Department, confirmed Oct. 20 that consumers have filed 21 individual complaints against TIAA-CREF since the beginning of 2006. Of those, nine are still pending.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, another oversight board for TIAA-CREF, said in an earlier interview that it does not comment on individual companies, though customers have confirmed they've filed complaints with the SEC as well.

Nearly a year ago, just before Thanksgiving 2005, TIAA-CREF customers noticed something was amiss with their pension funds.

Over the following several months, the situation escalated to the point where thousands of pensioners were denied access to their retirement funds with customer accounting nightmares not far behind.

Once-devoted customers felt forced to lodge formal complaints with regulatory authorities to get some relief. And customers started talking to the media.

The venerable company, fast losing cachet, was forced to admit serious IT problems.

In April of this year, TIAA-CREF officials sat down with eWEEK to explain their side of the story.

Click here to read more about TIAA-CREF's problems.

The issues at the company stemmed from a botched implementation of a new IT system, Open Plan Solutions, a commercial platform that looks to integrate the company's legacy annuity, mutual fund and other service offerings into a single system.

But by the time TIAA-CREF started publicly addressing the issues, many of the major problems seemed to have been solved.

An informal customer survey conducted by eWEEK in late spring showed most of the customers that initially contacted the magazine felt their issues had been resolved.

TIAA-CREF seemed to enjoy only a temporary reprieve. By mid-summer, customers began reaching out once again.

The e-mails continued at a steady pace, with a number of complaints still around account access.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: IT Issues Resurface at TIAA-CREF.


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