TIAA-CREF Expands Private Credit Platform

TIAA-CREF unveils Churchill Asset Management, a majority-owned subsidiary focused on originating, underwriting and managing senior loan investments.

The financial services provider TIAA-CREF announced its investment in Churchill, a majority-owned subsidiary specializing in originating, underwriting and managing senior loan investments. With a focus primarily in U.S. middle-market companies, the business offers risk-adjusted yield and credit diversification, according to executive vice president and president of asset management at TIAA-CREF, Robert G. Leary.

The introduction of Churchill Asset Management will complement TIAA-CREF, expanding its private credit platform and supporting its long-term strategy to offer investors diversified investment options and help clients build financial well-being.

“It also provides additional opportunities to invest in vehicles that offer compelling sources of income in today’s low-interest rate environment,” Leary adds. Institutional and qualified individual investors are increasingly looking to middle-market senior secured loans as an attractive asset class. Churchill plans to prioritize making middle-market senior secured loan investments through investment vehicles designed to meet the needs of institutional and qualified investors, including co-mingled funds, separately managed accounts and other investment products.

Led by an expert investment executive, Kenneth J. Kencel, Churchill will function as a standalone business. It will invest on behalf of TIAA General Account, which serves as a foundation for the savings and lifetime income payments for TIAA-CREF clients.

“Our strong risk management culture and rigorous underwriting and investment process is an excellent fit with TIAA-CREF’s heritage and proven history in fixed income,” says Kenneth J. Kencel, president and chief executive at Churchill. “We look forward to working closely with TIAA-CREF and contributing to their robust and growing specialty credit platform by raising new funds that offer institutional and qualified individual investors access to this attractive asset class.”

Churchill’s strategy will be supported by a senior management team headquartered in New York. The team has worked together for nearly a decade, underwriting and investing more than $4 billion in middle-market senior secured loans in more than 400 investments.

Churchill builds on TIAA-CREF’s asset management platform consisting of $851 billion invested in a variety of market strategies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.