Rather than buying equity interests in buildings, TIAA-CREF and KTCU are seeking to invest in mortgages backed by office towers, retail properties, warehouses and apartments in major U.S. cities. The venture between the two companies, which manage teachers’ savings in their respective countries, is 51 percent owned by TIAA-CREF and 49 percent held by Seoul-based KTCU.
“You invest in a huge office tower in New York because you want a safe place to put your money and a decent return,” over the long-term, he said. “This is more a capital preservation play than it is a capital appreciation play.”
– From the Bloomberg article: Manhattan Towers Lure Koreans in $1 Billion Joint Venture
As soon as I woke up this morning, I saw an email from a very smart friend of mine in the finance industry. He forwarded me an article from the New York Post, about how TIAA-CREF had paid $3,158 per square foot for a building in the Meatpacking area of Manhattan (a record for the area), which isn’t far from where I lived for several years in the mid-2000s.
For those of you who aren’t aware, TIAA-CREF stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund. According to the company’s own website, it:
We specialize in the distinctive needs of those who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. We’re here to listen to you, to advise you, and to help you feel confident about making financial decisions.
So it essentially manages the investments of people who know the least about investing, i.e., muppets. As such, it came as no surprise that TIAA-CREF might serve as an important bag-holding vehicle for bubble assets just before a fall, tempted by juicy 4% yields. As my friend noted: “In other words, teachers and nurses are shattering property records to fund their retirement.”
Here are some excerpts from the article:
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