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TIAA-CREF moves into Europe with UCITS fund launch

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TIAA-CREF is set to grow its European institutional presence following the launch of three new UCITS fund strategies.

Managed by Nuveen Investments, a subsidiary of the US financial services company, the funds will invest in bonds and global equity with an environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus, and give investors access to emerging market debt.

Amy Muska O’Brien, head of TIAA-CREF’s responsible investment team, said the ESG funds would focus on companies deemed “best in class” under its screening procedures.

Speaking about the ESG equity strategy, O’Brien said: “The strategy has been offered in the US for some time, and the same [portfolio management] team will be running the strategy as well.”

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The ESG bond fund will focus on US holdings, aiming to achieve an exposure to holdings with a “measurable” social or environmental outcome, she added.

O’Brien said the ESG bond fund was likely to be of interest to those seeking exposure to impact investing.

Asked whether the new fund launches marked an attempt by TIAA-CREF to further establish itself in the European market, she noted that the company was already known to a number of large asset owners through its agricultural funds. 

She declined to state the company’s expectations for investments over the first year of each fund’s lifetime, saying only that “strong” demand was expected. 

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