Former ING U.S. president Robert Leary will soon step in as
the head of asset management at $520 billion TIAA-CREF, the New
Yorkbased retirement fund and financial services firm,
where his duties will include overseeing the continued
expansion of the firms third-party services arm.
Leary will take over on June 24 from asset management COO
Carol Deckbar, who has served as interim head asset manager at
TIAA-CREF since early 2012, when Scott Evans resigned from the
post after 27 years with the firm.
Leary and his team will oversee a portfolio of about $505
billion, directing all aspects of asset management. One central
project Leary will take on is the expansion of TIAA-CREFs
third-party business, through which the firm offers management
and other financial services to institutional and retail
The firm began offering third-party services in 2004 by
working directly with other institutional investors, and later
began offering its mutual funds to financial intermediaries
such as investment advisors, institutions, banks and trust
companies. In early 2011 the scheme became a farmland
investment manager when it launched the $2 billion TIAA-CREF
Global Agriculture company, which invests in farmland with
other institutional investors. (The firm had taken a
controlling stake in Champaign, Illinoisbased
agricultural asset manager Westchester Group in 2010.) In
February TIAA-CREF announced a venture with Norges Bank
Investment Management, manager of the Norwegian Government
Pension Fund Global, to invest in U.S. office properties.
A spokesperson for TIAA-CREF confirmed that Leary will be
expected to continue the development and growth of these
Leary joined ING in 2007 as CEO of ING Investment
Managements Americas division, overseeing the firms
$230 billion U.S., Latin American and Canadian investment
management businesses. In 2011, he became president and COO of
INGs U.S. unit, where he helmed the companys
management, retirement, insurance and annuity businesses.
Before ING Leary was an executive vice president at AIG, and
during that time he assisted in building investment products
for institutional investors. He also served as a vice president
specializing in fixed income at J.P. Morgan & Co., and,
before that, he was an attorney with White & Case.
The portfolio Leary will oversee currently has about $240
billion in fixed-income investments, $214 billion in equities,
$33 billion in real estate and about $18 billion in alternative
assets, a bucket that includes agriculture, energy and
private-equity, a spokesperson says.
One of TIAA-CREFs largest variable annuity accounts,
the $115 billion CREF Stock Account, has returned an annualized
8.26 percent over the past decade. The CREF Composite Benchmark
yielded 8.56 percent during that period (as of April 30).