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Explorer ○○○

WMA Changes?

Called TIAA today about fees in retirement accounts for buying mutual funds. Apparently, even though our brokerage requires a $100k  initial investment and a $49.95 buy transaction fee for several of the Nuveen funds, TIAA does not have an initial investment limit or a fee to buy. I do not usually buy funds at TIAA. Does this sound right?

At the end of the call, the agent noted that I am entitled to a WMA (wealth management advisor) but I do not have one! Even though I have visited with the local WMA only once, I do from time to time communicate with him with questions. When I take my very late annual IRA RMD in December, I usually ask the WMA technical staff to hold my hand with taxes, Roth conversions, funds transfers, etc. to insure there are no mistakes because of the limited time left to take it. This last year, I had to twist a techies arm to get the hands on approach that I am accustomed to.

The agent response was that TIAA is transitioning to a "team approach". Sounds like I'll get whoever answers the phone. No continuity. He implied that it was a general approach unless I was working directly with somebody on something specific. I am just wondering if I am getting a slap on the wrist for moving considerable funds out of TIAA in the last year.

Anybody else seeing these WMA changes?

 

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13 Replies
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Valued Contributor

Re: WMA Changes?

Judger,

I (we) have to a degree and we have substantial amounts committed to TIAA.

We, too,have a "team," though we lean on one hugely competent man in Denver who gets things done yesterday!

I thought maybe some of the transition occurred because we draw a considerable amount of annuity income (locked up money) while liquid assets reside elsewhere.

As long as we have the Denver contact to execute transactions, we have no need for a local rep.  That's the business of our estate planning firm.

You, as I recall, have a more complex investment plan and may require local talent.

Best, Bob

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Explorer ○○○

Re: WMA Changes?

I think the WMA thing has always been a team approach. My WMA is something of a figurehead, with his thumbnail pic in the corner of the window when I log in. 

But then when I request something a bit tricky be done in my account, he has people who work with him who actually do what needs doing.

I've had good luck recently doing a lump Roth conversion at TIAA online, and also doing a transfer of funds from TIAA to Vanguard online without playing with paper forms or involving my WMA team.

But in January, 2022, I'll need to make two transactional changes in starting RMDs and I don't presently see how to do those on the TIAA website, so I'll have my WMA team help me with that...

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Explorer ○○

Re: WMA Changes?

"also doing a transfer of funds from TIAA to Vanguard online without playing with paper forms or involving my WMA team."

For several years I have been doing a partial rollover (trustee to trustee) from my MDO contracts to an IRA at Fidelity, all by just calling the 800 number. These have gone without a hitch. Two of the contracts still have some "After tax" money in them, I also arranged for them to send that to me directly by check.

It wasn't always that simple, not too many years ago I had to get a form and then either mail it in or send by Fax. I think TIAA may have gotten close to being in the 19th century. Now if they could just fix the website.

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Participant ○

Re: WMA Changes?

Many of us have already benefited from teamwork on transactions. The WMA in the home office typically provides overviews, advice on the construction of a portfolio or on setting up annuities, RMD's, or other transactions. But issues related to technical implementation of the plan or changes in it are likely to be referred to "the guy in Denver" or "the assistant in Charlotte." That person can press the appropriate buttons.

I'm happy with that arrangement.

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Explorer ○○○

Re: WMA Changes?

Wiz says: "I think the WMA thing has always been a team approach. My WMA is something of a figurehead, with his thumbnail pic in the corner of the window when I log in."

I no longer have the old WMA's photo in my log in. Anybody see theirs disappear? In fact it now says:

"Connect with a financial professional.
Call 800-842-2252

Or Set up Meeting"

Bob, I rarely communicate with any at the WMA unless I am trying to do similar things to others here. In fact, I used to out of courtesy send emails to the WMA and either ask who can help or even copy the back office person that last helped. But recently the doers seem to disappear pretty fast so that there is little continuity.    :-(((

PS: Recently, I was trying to figure out how to best fund charitable gifts specified in our trust - rather complex. I engaged a local CPA and reconnected to a very helpful TIAA lawyer in KC, I believe, in order to get his expert TIAA view of the matter. He had been VERY helpful when dealing with a local lawyer on the trust creation and some changes. And he was also very helpful in this matter and even gave me a heads up on the the new SECURE Act that was coming and would affect my previous stretch IRA approach for non-spousal beneficiaries. Thus, I totally bypassed any WMA interactions.

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Valued Contributor

Re: WMA Changes?

Judger asked:

"Anybody see theirs disappear?"

Yes.  But Denver guy is there, and that's all we require.

There is nothing in the way of fees that TIAA can get from our family.  It services our annuity income and some of our RMDs.

Bob

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Explorer ○○○

Re: WMA Changes?

Bob, planing a Gulf Coast/Northern Florida trip in late April/early May as we speak. I would ABSOLUTELY love to meet and buy you a Scotch or 2 or 3 or whatever. Private message me if this sounds like a maybe.   :-))))

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Explorer ○○○

Re: WMA Changes?

I agree with Wizard's post #3. The "team members" tend to be very savvy about getting things done at TIAA. However, I was once sent the wrong form by a newer (?) team member - luckily I recognized that it was the wrong form. There is no doubt in my mind that, since its inception, the WMA program was been "value engineered" and bent more towards TIAA's marketing needs.

Since I no longer recommend that people at the start of their career look towards TIAA, I don't think a lot about the long-term direction of the program. (Sigh!)

I had an interesting call from my WMA this month. Nominally, it was to advise Participants with existing financial plans from a WMA on implications of the Secure Act. Of course the focus was a)RMD starting age b)Inherited IRA distribution requirements.

The interesting thing was that a specific strategy that was offered (I won't say, ... promoted ... ) was a Single or Two-Life Annuity with 20-year guarantee period. The selling point was that for many long-term clients, this might produce roughly the same (current dollar!) amount of distributed cash as today's principal amount. I got the feeling that it was, also, a response to Participants who are nervous about the prospects for the equity market during their remaining lifetime.

Of course, I'm not suggesting this to anyone. I'm just reporting a proposal that was made to me. I should note that both of us are in our mid-60's and retired.

Tim

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Valued Contributor

Re: WMA Changes?

Annuitizing during lifetime removes the annuitized amount from RMDs. The SECURE Act didn't change anything on this. It also doesn't leave much to beneficiaries beyond the fulfillment of the guaranteed period.

In another thread, the unanswered question was if annuitization is allowed from Inherited T-IRA? That would bypass 10-yr limitation, so may not be allowed.

Of course one can cash out T-IRA, pay tax and annuitize after-tax, but that doesn't help with taxes.

YBB
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Valued Contributor

Re: WMA Changes?

Judger,

We are only in the Sarasota area  from January - March.

OTOH, if you make a sentimental journey to Michigan email me at uphaus@msu.edu and we will make arrangements.

Have a great trip!

Bob

 

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Follower ○○

Re: WMA Changes?

1) Your previous WMA May have left the firm. If that happened you’d receive a letter.

2) If you have less than 1 Million in assets or all the assets are in TIAA Traditional the WMA May have had you removed from their book.  

3) Asset retention is considered part of the WMA role per the job listing, if you moved a considerable sum out of TIAA the WMA may have had you removed from their book.

 

4) I’d Imagine it requires a significant investment To train a WMA in TIAA’s product suite, sales practices, processes, etc.  Looking at the job role I’d imagine their is a large emphasis on gathering assets.  If you aren’t moving money to TIAA or letting them manage it, there probably isn’t any incentive for the WMA to continue to keep you in their book.  

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Explorer ○○○

Re: WMA Changes?


@SC4ME wrote:

1) Your previous WMA May have left the firm. If that happened you’d receive a letter.

2) If you have less than 1 Million in assets or all the assets are in TIAA Traditional the WMA May have had you removed from their book.  

3) Asset retention is considered part of the WMA role per the job listing, if you moved a considerable sum out of TIAA the WMA may have had you removed from their book.

 

4) I’d Imagine it requires a significant investment To train a WMA in TIAA’s product suite, sales practices, processes, etc.  Looking at the job role I’d imagine their is a large emphasis on gathering assets.  If you aren’t moving money to TIAA or letting them manage it, there probably isn’t any incentive for the WMA to continue to keep you in their book.  


Received no letter. Have ABSOLUTELY no dollars in TIAA Traditional. Have moved a Considerable sum from TIAA in last year (finally p,,sed off enough). Did NOT ever hear that it is up to the WMA to dump anybody. Goes on assets in TIAA as far as I have ever heard and that is not an issue for us.

So where does that leave the question "What the h..l happened to our WMA?"   :-(((

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Follower ○○

Re: WMA Changes?

Good question.  If you call your local office ask for the name and number of the WMA’s Director that you used to work with.  Ask to speak with them immediately. If they are busy (I’m sure they will be) ask to schedule a time to speak. My guess is that they will say you don’t have one because of a back office (catch all) mistake.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “back office mistake.”

Individuals can be removed from a WMAs book, according to my previous WMA who left the firm.  When he left, I left.  I probably could do it all in my own, but I pay him to tell me “No, that’s a horrible idea.”  Anyways.  Give the director a call.  

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