TIAA-CREF Shakes Up Its Alternative Investment Program

Big shakeup in the LP community, as Sheryl Schwartz is out as head of alternative investments at TIAA-CREF. Actually, alternative investments as a dedicated group is basically gone, with the insurance company opting to integrate it into the broader portfolio management and private placements divisions.

My colleague Bernard Vaughan first broke the news in Buyouts Magazine.

The question now is what happens going forward. TIAA-CREF reportedly had around $10 billion worth of alternative asset commitments as of 2007, and is known to invest in both venture capital and buyout funds.

I spoke to a few secondary market sources who said they haven’t heard about a big portfolio coming to market, and most team members still seem to be around (based on emails/voicemails being operational — whereas Schwartz’s are not).

A CREF spokeswoman said that the firm “remains committed to private equity” and that it “does plan to make new investments in funds and co-investments going forward.”

On the other hand, background sources familiar with the situation implied that things were still a bit murky. “I wouldn’t say it’s a shock, but I also wouldn’t say the path forward is terribly clear yet,” one said.