TIAA-CREF has hired Michael Lane to head a new team that serves fee-based financial advisors. Lane, who was named director of advisory services at the New York-based firm, reports to Dennis Foley, VP of TIAA-CREF's annuity and mutual fund businesses.

Lane will oversee the advisor-based distribution of TIAA-CREF's financial products, including mutual funds, annuities, 529 plans, 403 pension services, life insurance, and long-term care insurance. He most recently held a position at Advisor Resources, a division of AEGON Financial Services, based in Louisville, Ky.

Lane has built his team from five existing TIAA-CREF employees, adding four of his former coworkers from AEGON. He has frozen hiring for the team, but says he plans to hire more after current staff have made headway in marketing the firm's products.

"We will be growing our team over the next 18 months," he said. "For now, we need to get the word out. The key for us is to build relationships with advisors and educate them about what TIAA-CREF has to offer."

While TIAA-CREF's message hasn't changed, Lane said the firm will take a different approach in its efforts to reach advisors. "We have phone and field support so we can see face-to-face advisors," he said. "The first thing on the list is evaluating the efforts of the people that have been reaching out to advisors and then coordinating the efforts of everybody who's been touching advisors. That's the biggest thing we need to put in place."

In addition, TIAA-CREF needs to make sure it provides the online tools that allow advisors proper access to its products.

In his previous position, Lane developed AdviserSoft, a software tool that provides advisors with breakeven analysis comparing annuities and mutual funds. Although Lane has a similar product in mind for TIAA-CREF, he said the project isn't on the docket yet.

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