TIAA cuts 25 real estate employees

The layoffs in the last month stem from a push toward third-party capital management.

TIAA Global Asset Management has reportedly cut four property staffers in the past month as it looks to restructure its real estate team.

The investment manager let about 25 employees go across its real estate business in June. The most senior was Henry Dong, a senior acquisitions director who was with the firm for 24 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Two directors based in Charlotte and a Newport Beach, California-based portfolio manager were also laid off. A spokeswoman for TIAA declined to comment on the cuts.

These layoffs come as TIAA Global Asset Management is trying to increase its third-party capital management. Third-party assets under management for the firm’s US-only real estate business increased 14 percent in the last five years. With the acquisition of TH Real Estate, 48 percent of the firm’s global assets under management is now third party capital. TIAA managed $96 billion in real estate and $861 billion in overall assets as of March 31.

PERE understands that the recent reorganization is aimed at expanding the range of products available to the firm’s clients, as well as streamlining the firm’s operations. Because TIAA is trying to build a stronger presence with more local knowledge in the primary US markets it targets, the firm is moving some employees to regional offices, including new outlets in Washington DC and Miami, for more direct responsibility for investments.

In February, TIAA Global Asset Management announced it was combining agriculture, real estate and infrastructure, along with other investment platforms, into a real assets unit. At the time of that announcement, Tom Garbutt, the head of the firm’s global real estate business, said he would retire, and Phil McAndrews, the real estate chief investment officer, said he was leaving the company. However, PERE understands that the recent staffing cuts were not linked to the formation of the real assets group.