TIAA-CREF has taken a significant step that is symbolic for the firm and will affect the bottom line for many of its retail mutual fund investors. The traditionally low-cost firm is proposing changes that would dramatically raise fees on its actively managed retail funds, according to MarketWatch.

"This action is being taken to align what the actual costs are related to these funds," said Stephanie Cohen Glass, a spokeswoman for the company. "We will remain a low-cost provider, and [costs] are relatively low in comparison to the industry even if this new fee structure is adopted."

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