TIAA-CREF's deal to acquire a provider of planned-giving services to colleges and other not-for-profit entities may help it improve cross-selling to institutional clients, analysts said, as its market share dwindles in the college savings market. Analysts said the New York company may be focusing on institutional customers because it has had a difficult time retaining share with retail customers saving for college. TIAA-CREF's 529 college savings business has lost three states and nearly half its market share in the past two years.

TIAA-CREF was one of the early entrants in the college savings market and has been managing programs since starting its first in New York, in 1998. But since 2003, TIAA-CREF's share of this market has slipped from 15.4% to 8.46%, according to Morningstar of Chicago. It still manages 11 states' programs but has not begun a new one since Georgia's in April 2002.

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