By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-01-23 Print this article Print

-CREF Tries to Keep Customers Informed"> Updating Customers TIAA-CREF is making a forthright attempt to keep customers up to date on its Web site—a tactic taken on in recent weeks after media reports brought system issues to light.
Under the heading "Service Update for TIAA-CREF Participants and Clients," updated daily, the company said it has a total of 460 late payments outstanding, that include "457 IRA payments and 3 pension payments of various types."
It also has a total of 1,474 delayed transfers and premium contributions, "which include lags in processing client-initiated transfers of retirement funds between accounts and applying premium contributions received," according to the Web site. The company also continues to encounter "some delays" in fulfilling forms requests—retirement income, transfer, and mutual fund forms, for example. "We are temporarily processing forms requests manually until later this month, when we expect to install a further update to our automated system," read the Services Update. Read more here about TIAA-CREF customers actions regarding the recent pension problems. A. Peet Hickman, a physics professor at Lehigh University, said he believes TIAA-CREF is still processing his trading transactions by hand as well. "Theyve almost got me finished, its almost right," said Hickman, who recently filed a complaint with both the Securities & Exchange Commission and the New York State Insurance Department over funds issues with TIAA-CREF. Hickman, in Bethlehem, Pa., said TIAA-CREF sold about 83 shares from his 403b account for $200 each, and the transaction came up two shares short—about a $400 loss. "The shares are sold one day and repurchased a day or two later, and theyre supposed to be backdated so its repurchased at the same price it was sold," Hickman said. "I know about when it was sold, and when the new shares were bought, and I couldnt find any combination that would explain exactly the number of shares that I wound up with. I believe they are doing a lot manually and someone messed up." Hickman said the snafu will not affect his 2005 tax statement since all trading is pre-taxed—nor will it change his plans to move some money out of TIAA-CREF, but to keep some funds active as well. "I think theres value in diversification against computer problems like this," Hickman said. "I dont want to move everything out of TIAA and have it end up with another company that goes through the same round of problems. I work with computers. I know things can happen. Im more disgusted that they tried to stonewall everything." TIAA-CREF is one of the nations largest private retirement systems, with more than 3 million members from the academic community, and about 15,000 institutional investors. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on government and politics.


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