TIAA-CREF Funds

 

Prospectus

 

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds

AUGUST 1, 2023

             
 

Ticker

Fund

Institutional
Class

Advisor
Class

Premier
Class

Retirement
Class

Retail
Class


Class W

             
             

Bond Index Fund

TBIIX

TBIAX

TBIPX

TBIRX

TBILX

TBIWX

Core Bond Fund

TIBDX

TIBHX

TIDPX

TIDRX

TIORX

TBBWX

Core Impact Bond
Fund

TSBIX

TSBHX

TSBPX

TSBBX

TSBRX

Core Plus Bond Fund

TIBFX

TCBHX

TBPPX

TCBRX

TCBPX

TCBWX

5–15 Year Laddered
Tax-Exempt Bond
Fund

TITIX

TIXHX

TIXRX

Green Bond Fund

TGRNX

TGRKX

TGRLX

TGRMX

TGROX

High-Yield Fund

TIHYX

TIHHX

TIHPX

TIHRX

TIYRX

TIHWX

Inflation-Linked Bond
Fund

TIILX

TIIHX

TIKPX

TIKRX

TCILX

TIIWX

Short Duration Impact
Bond Fund

TSDJX

TSDHX

TSDFX

TSDDX

TSDBX

Short-Term Bond Fund

TISIX

TCTHX

TSTPX

TISRX

TCTRX

TCTWX

Short-Term Bond Index
Fund

TNSHX

TTBHX

TPSHX

TESHX

TRSHX

TTBWX

Money Market Fund

TCIXX

TMHXX

TPPXX

TIEXX

TIRXX

TMWXX

Real Estate Securities
Fund

TIREX

TIRHX

TRRPX

TRRSX

TCREX

             

This Prospectus describes the Institutional Class, Advisor Class, Premier Class, Retirement Class, Retail Class and Class W shares offered, as applicable, by the investment portfolios listed above (each, a “Fund” and, collectively, the “Funds”) of the TIAA-CREF Funds (the “Trust”).

An investment in a Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. An investor can lose money in any of the Funds and the Funds could perform more poorly than other investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


Table of contents

     

Summary information

Bond Index Fund

Investment objective 7

Fees and expenses 7

Shareholder fees 7

Annual Fund operating expenses 7

Example 8

Portfolio turnover 8

Principal investment strategies 8

Principal investment risks 9

Past performance 12

Portfolio management 14

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 15

Tax information 15

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 16

Summary information

Core Bond Fund

Investment objective 17

Fees and expenses 17

Shareholder fees 17

Annual Fund operating expenses 17

Example 18

Portfolio turnover 18

Principal investment strategies 18

Principal investment risks 20

Past performance 23

Portfolio management 25

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 26

Tax information 26

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 27

 

Summary information

Core Impact Bond Fund

Investment objective 28

Fees and expenses 28

Shareholder fees 28

Annual Fund operating expenses 29

Example 29

Portfolio turnover 29

Principal investment strategies 30

Principal investment risks 33

Past performance 36

Portfolio management 37

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 38

Tax information 38

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 39

Summary information

Core Plus Bond Fund

Investment objective 40

Fees and expenses 40

Shareholder fees 40

Annual Fund operating expenses 40

Example 41

Portfolio turnover 41

Principal investment strategies 41

Principal investment risks 43

Past performance 46

Portfolio management 48

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 49

Tax information 49

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 50


     

Summary information

5–15 Year Laddered Tax-Exempt Bond Fund

Investment objective 51

Fees and expenses 51

Shareholder fees 51

Annual Fund operating expenses 52

Example 52

Portfolio turnover 52

Principal investment strategies 53

Principal investment risks 54

Past performance 56

Portfolio management 58

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 58

Tax information 59

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 59

Summary information

Green Bond Fund

Investment objective 60

Fees and expenses 60

Shareholder fees 60

Annual Fund operating expenses 60

Example 61

Portfolio turnover 61

Principal investment strategies 61

Principal investment risks 64

Past performance 67

Portfolio management 69

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 69

Tax information 70

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 70

 

Summary information

High-Yield Fund

Investment objective 71

Fees and expenses 71

Shareholder fees 71

Annual Fund operating expenses 72

Example 72

Portfolio turnover 73

Principal investment strategies 73

Principal investment risks 74

Past performance 76

Portfolio management 78

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 79

Tax information 79

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 80

Summary information

Inflation-Linked Bond Fund

Investment objective 81

Fees and expenses 81

Shareholder fees 81

Annual Fund operating expenses 81

Example 82

Portfolio turnover 82

Principal investment strategies 82

Principal investment risks 84

Past performance 85

Portfolio management 87

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 88

Tax information 88

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 89


Table of contents

     

Summary information

Short Duration Impact Bond Fund

Investment objective 90

Fees and expenses 90

Shareholder fees 90

Annual Fund operating expenses 90

Example 91

Portfolio turnover 91

Principal investment strategies 91

Principal investment risks 95

Past performance 97

Portfolio management 99

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 99

Tax information 100

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 100

Summary information

Short-Term Bond Fund

Investment objective 102

Fees and expenses 102

Shareholder fees 102

Annual Fund operating expenses 103

Example 103

Portfolio turnover 104

Principal investment strategies 104

Principal investment risks 104

Past performance 107

Portfolio management 109

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 110

Tax information 110

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 111

 

Summary information

Short-Term Bond Index Fund

Investment objective 112

Fees and expenses 112

Shareholder fees 112

Annual Fund operating expenses 112

Example 113

Portfolio turnover 113

Principal investment strategies 113

Principal investment risks 114

Past performance 117

Portfolio management 118

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 119

Tax information 119

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 120

Summary information

Money Market Fund

Investment objective 121

Fees and expenses 121

Shareholder fees 121

Annual Fund operating expenses 121

Example 122

Principal investment strategies 122

Principal investment risks 123

Past performance 124

Portfolio management 126

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 126

Tax information 127

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 127


     

Summary information

Real Estate Securities Fund

Investment objective 129

Fees and expenses 129

Shareholder fees 129

Annual Fund operating expenses 130

Example 130

Portfolio turnover 130

Principal investment strategies 131

Principal investment risks 131

Past performance 133

Portfolio management 135

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 135

Tax information 136

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 136

 

Additional information about investment strategies and risks of the Funds 137

Additional information about the Funds 137

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Funds 139

Global economic risk 154

Additional information about the Funds’ benchmark indices 155

Additional information on investment strategies of the Fixed-Income Funds 157

Additional information on investment strategies of the Real Estate Securities Fund 159

Portfolio holdings 160

Portfolio turnover 161

Advisors’ prior performance of substantially similar Composites 161

Investments by funds of funds 163

Share classes 164

Management of the Funds 164

The Funds’ investment adviser 164

Investment management fees 166

Portfolio management teams 168

Other services 171

Distribution and service arrangements 172

All classes 172

Other payments by the Funds 172

Other payments by Nuveen Securities, Advisors or their affiliates 174

Calculating share price 175

Dividends and distributions 177

Taxes 178


Table of contents

     

Your account: purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares 181

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus 181

Share class eligibility 182

Purchasing shares 185

Redeeming shares 192

Exchanging shares 196

Conversion of shares–applicable to all investors 198

Important transaction information 199

Market timing/excessive trading policy—applicable to Money Market Fund, Short Duration Impact Bond Fund, Short-Term Bond Fund and Short-Term Bond Index Fund 203

Market timing/excessive trading policy—applicable to all other Funds 203

Electronic prospectuses 205

Additional information about index providers 205

Additional information about the Trust and the Board of Trustees 206

Glossary 206

Financial highlights 207

   


 

Summary information

TIAA-CREF Bond Index Fund

Investment objective

The Fund seeks total return that corresponds with the total return of a broad U.S. investment-grade bond market index.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

                         
 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement Class

 

Retail Class

 

Class W

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on purchases (percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum deferred sales charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on reinvested dividends and other distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or exchange fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account maintenance fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

$15.00

 

0%

 

ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

                           

 

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management fees

0.06%

 

0.06%

 

0.06%

 

0.06%

 

0.06%

 

0.06%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) fees

 

 

0.15%

 

 

0.25%

 

 

Other expenses

0.01%

 

0.11%

 

0.01%

 

0.26%

 

0.07%

 

0.01%

 

Total annual Fund operating expenses

0.07%

 

0.17%

 

0.22%

 

0.32%

 

0.38%

 

0.07%

 

Waivers and expense reimbursements1

 

 

 

 

 

(0.07)%

2 

Total annual Fund operating expenses after
  fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement

0.07%

 

0.17%

 

0.22%

 

0.32%

 

0.38%

 

0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     7


   

1

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC, has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total annual Fund operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.09% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.24% of average daily net assets for Advisor Class shares; (iii) 0.24% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iv) 0.34% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; (v) 0.44% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares; and (vi) 0.09% of average daily net assets for Class W shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least July 31, 2024, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

2

Teachers Advisors, LLC has contractually agreed to waive and/or reimburse Class W’s Management fees and Other expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses, Trustee expenses and extraordinary expenses) in their entirety. Teachers Advisors, LLC expects these waiver and/or reimbursement arrangements to remain in effect indefinitely, unless changed or terminated with approval of the Board of Trustees.

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement arrangements will each remain in place for the durations noted in the table above. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

                                     

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

1 year

$

7

 

$

17

 

$

23

 

$

33

 

$

39

 

$

0

 

3 years

$

23

 

$

55

 

$

71

 

$

103

 

$

122

 

$

0

 

5 years

$

40

 

$

96

 

$

124

 

$

180

 

$

213

 

$

0

 

10 years

$

90

 

$

217

 

$

280

 

$

406

 

$

480

 

$

0

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 20% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in bonds within its benchmark and portfolio tracking index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (the “Index”). The Fund uses a sampling technique to create a portfolio that closely matches the overall investment characteristics of

8     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


the Index (for example, duration, sector diversification and credit quality) without investing in all of the securities in its index. At times the Fund may purchase securities not held in the Index, but which Teachers Advisors, LLC (“Advisors”) believes have similar investment characteristics to securities held in its index. Generally, the Fund intends to invest in a wide spectrum of public, investment-grade, taxable debt securities denominated in U.S. dollars including government securities, as well as mortgage-backed, commercial mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. The Fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities may include pass-through securities sold by private, governmental and government-related organizations and U.S. Government-sponsored enterprises (“GSEs”), to the extent that such instruments are held by the Index. The Fund generally will invest in foreign securities denominated in U.S. dollars only to the extent they are included or eligible to be included in the Index. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The securities purchased by the Fund will mainly be high-quality instruments rated in the top four credit categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or deemed to be of the same quality by Advisors using its own credit quality analysis. The Fund may continue to hold instruments that were rated as high-quality when purchased, but which subsequently are downgraded to below-investment-grade status or have their ratings withdrawn by one or more rating agencies.

Because the return of the Index is not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, the Fund’s ability to match the Index is negatively affected by the costs of buying and selling securities, as well as other fees and expenses. The use of the Index by the Fund is not a fundamental policy of the Fund and may be changed without shareholder approval.

The Fund is classified as a diversified investment company, as defined under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). However, the Fund may become non-diversified under the 1940 Act without the approval of Fund shareholders solely as a result of a change in relative market capitalization or index weighting of one or more constituents of its benchmark index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which the Fund seeks to track.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that increases in interest rates can cause the prices of fixed-income investments to decline. This risk is heightened to the extent the Fund invests in longer duration fixed-income investments and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. Low interest rates may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates, and the Fund may also be subject to

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     9


heightened levels of interest rate risk due to rising interest rates (including a sharp rise in interest rates). In general, changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Prepayment Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans sooner than expected, forcing the Fund to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates and resulting in a decline in income.

· Extension Risk—The risk that, during periods of rising interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans later than expected, preventing the Fund from reinvesting principal proceeds at higher interest rates and resulting in less income than potentially available.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that the issuer of fixed-income investments may not be able or willing, or may be perceived (whether by market participants, rating agencies, pricing services or otherwise) as not able or willing, to meet interest or principal payments when the payments become due.

· Credit Spread Risk—The risk that credit spreads (i.e., the difference in yield between securities that is due to differences in each security’s respective credit quality) may increase when market participants believe that bonds generally have a greater risk of default, which could result in a decline in the market values of the Fund’s debt securities.

· Income Volatility Risk—The risk that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income investments may decline in certain interest rate environments.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—The risk that volatile or dramatic reductions in trading activity make it difficult for the Fund to properly value its investments and that the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell an investment at an attractive price, if at all.

· Index Risk—The risk that the Fund’s performance may not correspond to its benchmark index for any period of time and may underperform such index or the overall financial market. Additionally, to the extent that the Fund’s investments vary from the composition of its benchmark index, the Fund’s performance could potentially vary from the index’s performance to a greater extent than if the Fund merely attempted to replicate the index.

· Fixed-Income Foreign Investment Risk—Investment in fixed-income securities or financial instruments of foreign issuers involves increased risks due to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments as well as armed conflicts. These developments may impact

10     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


the ability of a foreign debt issuer to make timely and ultimate payments on its debt obligations to the Fund or impair the Fund’s ability to enforce its rights against the foreign debt issuer. These risks are heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also have lower overall liquidity and be more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers. Foreign investments may also be subject to risk of loss because of more or less foreign government regulation, less public information, less stringent investor protections, and less stringent accounting, corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure standards. The imposition of sanctions, exchange controls (including repatriation restrictions), confiscations, trade restrictions (including tariffs) and other restrictions by the United States or other governments may also negatively impact the Fund’s investments. Economic sanctions and other similar governmental actions or developments could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell certain foreign securities or groups of foreign securities, and/or thus may make the Fund’s investments in such securities less liquid (or illiquid) or more difficult to value. The type and severity of sanctions and other measures that may be imposed could vary broadly in scope, and their impact is impossible to predict.

· U.S. Government Securities Risk—Securities issued by the U.S. Government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities may receive varying levels of support from the U.S. Government, which could affect the Fund’s ability to recover should they default. To the extent the Fund invests significantly in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, any market movements, regulatory changes or changes in political or economic conditions that affect the securities of the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities in which the Fund invests may have a significant impact on the Fund’s performance.

· Illiquid Investments RiskThe risk that illiquid investments may be difficult to sell for the value at which they are carried, if at all, or at any price within the desired time frame.

· Downgrade Risk—The risk that securities are subsequently downgraded should Advisors and/or rating agencies believe the issuer’s business outlook or creditworthiness has deteriorated.

· Call Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, an issuer may call (or repay) a fixed-income security prior to maturity, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

· Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk—Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     11


Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

· Non-Diversification RiskWhile the Fund is considered to be a diversified investment company under the 1940 Act, the Fund may become non-diversified under the 1940 Act without Fund shareholder approval when necessary to continue to track its benchmark index. Non-diversified status means that the Fund can invest a greater percentage of its assets in the securities of a single issuer than a diversified fund. Investing in a non-diversified fund involves greater risk than investing in a diversified fund because a loss in value of a particular investment may have a greater effect on the fund’s return since that investment may represent a larger portion of the fund’s total portfolio assets.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

The following chart and table help illustrate some of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year. The bar chart shows the annual total returns of the Institutional Class of the Fund, before taxes, in each full calendar year for the last ten years. Because the expenses vary across share classes, the performance of the Institutional Class may vary from the other share classes. Below the bar chart are the best and worst returns of the Institutional Class for a calendar quarter during the full calendar-year periods covered by the bar chart. The performance table following the bar chart shows the Fund’s average annual total returns for the Institutional, Advisor, Premier, Retirement, Retail and Class W classes over the applicable one-year, five-year, ten-year and since-inception periods ended December 31, 2022, and how those returns compare to those of the Fund’s benchmark index. After-tax performance is shown only for Institutional Class shares, and after-tax returns for the other classes of shares will vary from the after-tax returns presented for Institutional Class shares.

The returns shown below reflect previous agreements by Advisors to waive or reimburse the Fund for certain fees and expenses. Without these waivers and reimbursements, the returns of the Fund would have been lower. Past performance of the Fund (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how it will perform in the future. The benchmark index listed below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in an index. The returns for the benchmark index reflect no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa.org.

12     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS FOR THE INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES (%)

Bond Index Fund

PerformanceBarChartData(2013:-2.34,2014:5.87,2015:0.53,2016:2.38,2017:3.42,2018:-0.02,2019:8.38,2020:7.49,2021:-1.81,2022:-13.24)

 The year-to-date return as of the most recent calendar quarter, which ended on June 30, 2023, was 2.38%.

Best quarter: 3.34%, for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. Worst quarter: -5.89%, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     13


AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS

For the Periods Ended December 31, 2022

                       

 

 

Inception date

 

One year

 

 

Five years

 

 

Ten years

 

Institutional Class

9/14/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.24

%

 

0.16

%

 

0.88

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions

 

 

14.09

%

 

1.17

%

 

0.11

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions and sale of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fund shares

 

 

7.81

%

 

0.49

%

 

0.27

%

Advisor Class

12/4/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.33

%

 

0.26

%

 

0.82

%#

Premier Class

9/30/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.37

%

 

0.31

%

 

0.73

%

Retirement Class

9/14/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.54

%

 

0.42

%

 

0.63

%

Retail Class

9/14/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.47

%

 

0.47

%

 

0.57

%

Class W

9/28/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.25

%

 

0.07

%#

 

0.93

%#

                       

Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(reflects no deductions for fees, expenses or taxes)

 

 

13.01

%

 

0.02

%

 

1.06

%

                       

Current performance of the Fund’s shares may be higher or lower than that shown above.

#

The performance shown for the Advisor Class and Class W that is prior to their respective inception dates is based on performance of the Institutional Class. The performance for these periods has not been restated to reflect the actual expenses of the Advisor Class and Class W. If these actual expenses had been reflected, the performance of these two classes shown for these periods would have been different because the Advisor Class and Class W have different expenses than the Institutional Class.

 

After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates in effect during the periods shown and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on the investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. The after-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). After-tax returns are shown for only one class, and after-tax returns for other classes will vary.

 

For the Fund’s most current 30-day yield, please call the Fund at 800-842-2252.

   

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, LLC.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons are primarily responsible for the management of the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

     
     

Name:

James Tsang, CFA

Vivian Liu, CFA

Title:

Senior Director

Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2011

since 2023

14     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Advisor Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries, employee benefit plans and insurance company separate accounts. Premier Class and Retirement Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans, other types of savings plans or accounts and certain financial intermediaries. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at www.tiaa.org or 800-223-1200. Class W shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund only by funds advised by Advisors or its affiliates or other clients or accounts of Advisors or its affiliates that are subject to a contractual fee for advisory, management or other similar or related services provided by Advisors or its affiliates.

· The minimum initial investment is $10 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates. Employee benefit plans, fee-based managed account programs (“wrap accounts”), state sponsored 529 college savings plans, collective trust funds, investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles, thrifts and bank and trust companies that have entered into agreements to offer Institutional Class shares held in omnibus accounts on the books of the Fund are exempt from initial and subsequent investment minimums.

· There are no minimum initial or subsequent investment requirements for Advisor Class, Premier Class, Retirement Class or Class W shares.

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or its affiliated exchanges, NYSE Arca Equities or NYSE American, are open for trading (each such day a “Business Day”). Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     15


not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the financial intermediary for providing investor services. The Fund’s related companies may also pay the financial intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

16     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


 

Summary information

TIAA-CREF Core Bond Fund

Investment objective

The Fund seeks total return, primarily through current income.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

                         
 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement Class

 

Retail Class

 

Class W

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on purchases (percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum deferred sales charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on reinvested dividends and other distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or exchange fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account maintenance fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

$15.00

 

0%

 

ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

                           

 

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management fees

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) fees

 

 

0.15%

 

 

0.25%

 

 

Other expenses

0.01%

 

0.14%

 

0.01%

 

0.26%

 

0.05%

 

0.01%

 

Total annual Fund operating expenses

0.29%

 

0.42%

 

0.44%

 

0.54%

 

0.58%

 

0.29%

 

Waivers and expense reimbursements1

 

 

 

 

 

(0.29)%

2 

Total annual Fund operating expenses after
  fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement

0.29%

 

0.42%

 

0.44%

 

0.54%

 

0.58%

 

0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     17


   

1

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC, has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total annual Fund operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.35% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.50% of average daily net assets for Advisor Class shares; (iii) 0.50% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iv) 0.60% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; (v) 0.70% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares; and (vi) 0.35% of average daily net assets for Class W shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least July 31, 2024, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

2

Teachers Advisors, LLC has contractually agreed to waive and/or reimburse Class W’s Management fees and Other expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses, Trustee expenses and extraordinary expenses) in their entirety. Teachers Advisors, LLC expects these waiver and/or reimbursement arrangements to remain in effect indefinitely, unless changed or terminated with approval of the Board of Trustees.

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement arrangements will each remain in place for the durations noted in the table above. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

                                     

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

1 year

$

30

 

$

43

 

$

45

 

$

55

 

$

59

 

$

0

 

3 years

$

93

 

$

135

 

$

141

 

$

173

 

$

186

 

$

0

 

5 years

$

163

 

$

235

 

$

246

 

$

302

 

$

324

 

$

0

 

10 years

$

368

 

$

530

 

$

555

 

$

677

 

$

726

 

$

0

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 152% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in bonds. For these purposes, bonds include fixed-income securities of all types. The Fund primarily invests in a broad range of investment-grade bonds and fixed-income securities, including, but not limited to, U.S. Government securities,

18     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


corporate bonds, mortgage-backed and other asset-backed securities, convertible and preferred securities, senior loans and loan participations and assignments and notes. The Fund may also invest in other fixed-income securities, including those of non-investment-grade quality (usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds”). Securities of non-investment-grade quality are speculative in nature. The Fund does not rely exclusively on rating agencies when making investment decisions. Instead, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC (“Advisors”), performs its own credit analysis, paying particular attention to economic trends and other market events. Individual securities or sectors may be overweighted or underweighted relative to the Fund’s benchmark index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, when Advisors believes that such overweight or underweight may cause the Fund to outperform the index. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities of any duration. As of May 31, 2023, the duration of the Fund’s benchmark index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, was 6.27 years.

The Fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities can include pass-through securities sold by private, governmental and government-related organizations and collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). Mortgage pass-through securities are created when mortgages are pooled together and interests in the pool are sold to investors. The cash flow from the underlying mortgages is “passed through” to investors in periodic principal and interest payments. CMOs are obligations that are fully collateralized directly or indirectly by a pool of mortgages from which payments of principal and interest are dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on the CMO.

The Fund may use an investment strategy called “mortgage rolls” (also referred to as “dollar rolls”), in which the Fund sells securities for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts with a counterparty to repurchase similar (same type, coupon and maturity) but not identical securities on a specified future date. The Fund loses the right to receive principal and interest paid on the securities sold. However, the Fund would benefit to the extent of any price received for the securities sold and the lower forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”) plus the interest earned on the short-term investment awaiting the settlement date of the forward purchase. If such benefits exceed the income and gain or loss due to mortgage repayments that would have been realized on the securities sold as part of the mortgage roll, the use of this technique will enhance the investment performance of the Fund compared with what such performance would have been without the use of mortgage rolls. Realizing benefits from the use of mortgage rolls depends upon the ability of Advisors to correctly predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates.

The Fund may also engage in relative value trading, a strategy in which the Fund reallocates assets across different sectors and maturities. Relative value

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     19


trading is designed to enhance the Fund’s returns but increases the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate.

The Fund may purchase and sell futures, options, swaps, forwards and other fixed-income derivative instruments to carry out the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund may also invest in foreign securities, including emerging markets fixed-income securities and non-dollar-denominated instruments. Under most circumstances, the Fund’s investments in fixed-income securities of foreign issuers constitute less than 25% of the Fund’s assets.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that increases in interest rates can cause the prices of fixed-income investments to decline. This risk is heightened to the extent the Fund invests in longer duration fixed-income investments and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. Low interest rates may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates, and the Fund may also be subject to heightened levels of interest rate risk due to rising interest rates (including a sharp rise in interest rates). In general, changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Prepayment Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans sooner than expected, forcing the Fund to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates and resulting in a decline in income.

· Extension Risk—The risk that, during periods of rising interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans later than expected, preventing the Fund from reinvesting principal proceeds at higher interest rates and resulting in less income than potentially available.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that the issuer of fixed-income investments may not be able or willing, or may be perceived (whether by market participants, rating agencies, pricing services or otherwise) as not able or willing, to meet interest or principal payments when the payments become due.

· Credit Spread Risk—The risk that credit spreads (i.e., the difference in yield between securities that is due to differences in each security’s respective credit quality) may increase when market participants believe that bonds

20     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


generally have a greater risk of default, which could result in a decline in the market values of the Fund’s debt securities.

· Income Volatility Risk—The risk that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income investments may decline in certain interest rate environments.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—The risk that volatile or dramatic reductions in trading activity make it difficult for the Fund to properly value its investments and that the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell an investment at an attractive price, if at all.

· Fixed-Income Foreign Investment Risk—Investment in fixed-income securities or financial instruments of foreign issuers involves increased risks due to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments as well as armed conflicts. These developments may impact the ability of a foreign debt issuer to make timely and ultimate payments on its debt obligations to the Fund or impair the Fund’s ability to enforce its rights against the foreign debt issuer. These risks are heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also have lower overall liquidity and be more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers. Foreign investments may also be subject to risk of loss because of more or less foreign government regulation, less public information, less stringent investor protections, and less stringent accounting, corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure standards. The imposition of sanctions, exchange controls (including repatriation restrictions), confiscations, trade restrictions (including tariffs) and other restrictions by the United States or other governments may also negatively impact the Fund’s investments. Economic sanctions and other similar governmental actions or developments could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell certain foreign securities or groups of foreign securities, and/or thus may make the Fund’s investments in such securities less liquid (or illiquid) or more difficult to value. The type and severity of sanctions and other measures that may be imposed could vary broadly in scope, and their impact is impossible to predict.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that Advisors’ strategy, investment selection or trading execution may cause the Fund to underperform relative to the benchmark index or mutual funds with similar investment objectives and may not produce expected returns.

· Call Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, an issuer may call (or repay) a fixed-income security prior to maturity, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

· Mortgage Roll RiskThe risk that Advisors will not correctly predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates, which will diminish the Fund’s performance.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     21


· Downgrade Risk—The risk that securities are subsequently downgraded should Advisors and/or rating agencies believe the issuer’s business outlook or creditworthiness has deteriorated.

· Non-Investment-Grade Securities Risk—Issuers of non-investment-grade securities, which are usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically speculative in nature, in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating. In times of unusual or adverse market, economic or political conditions, these securities may experience higher than normal default rates.

· Illiquid Investments RiskThe risk that illiquid investments may be difficult to sell for the value at which they are carried, if at all, or at any price within the desired time frame.

· Senior Loan Risk—Many senior loans present credit risk comparable to high-yield securities. The liquidation of the collateral backing a senior loan may not satisfy the borrower’s obligation to the Fund in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal. Senior loans also expose the Fund to call risk and illiquid investments risk. The secondary market for senior loans can be limited. Trades can be infrequent and the values for senior loans may experience volatility. In some cases, negotiations for the sale or settlement of senior loans may require weeks to complete, which may impair the Fund’s ability to raise cash to satisfy redemptions, pay dividends, pay expenses or to take advantage of other investment opportunities in a timely manner. If an issuer of a senior loan prepays or redeems the loan prior to maturity, the Fund will have to reinvest the proceeds in other senior loans or instruments that may pay lower interest rates.

· Emerging Markets Risk—The risk of foreign investment often increases in countries with emerging markets or otherwise economically tied to emerging market countries. For example, these countries may have more unstable governments than developed countries, and their economies may be based on only a few industries. Emerging market countries may also have less stringent regulation of accounting, auditing, financial reporting and recordkeeping requirements, which would affect the Fund’s ability to evaluate potential portfolio companies. As a result, there could be less information available about issuers in emerging market countries, which could negatively affect Advisors’ ability to evaluate local companies or their potential impact on the Fund’s performance. Because their financial markets may be very small, share prices of financial instruments in emerging market countries may be volatile and difficult to determine. Financial instruments of issuers in these countries may have lower overall liquidity than those of issuers in more developed countries. In addition, foreign investors such as the Fund are subject to a variety of special restrictions in many emerging

22     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


market countries. Moreover, legal remedies for investors in emerging markets may be more limited, and U.S. authorities may have less ability to bring actions against bad actors in emerging market countries. The risks outlined above are often more pronounced in “frontier markets” in which the Fund may invest. Frontier markets are those emerging markets that are considered to be among the smallest, least mature and least liquid. These factors may make investing in frontier market countries significantly riskier than investing in other countries.

· U.S. Government Securities Risk—Securities issued by the U.S. Government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities may receive varying levels of support from the U.S. Government, which could affect the Fund’s ability to recover should they default. To the extent the Fund invests significantly in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, any market movements, regulatory changes or changes in political or economic conditions that affect the securities of the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities in which the Fund invests may have a significant impact on the Fund’s performance.

· Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk—Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

· Portfolio Turnover Risk—Depending on market and other conditions, the Fund may experience high portfolio turnover, which may result in greater transactional expenses, such as brokerage commissions, bid-ask spreads, or dealer mark-ups, and capital gains (which could increase taxes and, consequently, reduce returns).

· Derivatives Risk—The risks associated with investing in derivatives and other similar instruments (referred to collectively as “derivatives”) may be different and greater than the risks associated with directly investing in the underlying securities and other instruments, and include leverage risk, market risk, counterparty risk, liquidity risk, operational risk and legal risk. The Fund may use more complex derivatives that might be particularly susceptible to liquidity, credit and counterparty risk. When investing in derivatives, the Fund may lose more than the principal amount invested.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

The following chart and table help illustrate some of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year. The

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     23


bar chart shows the annual total returns of the Institutional Class of the Fund, before taxes, in each full calendar year for the last ten years. Because the expenses vary across share classes, the performance of the Institutional Class may vary from the other share classes. Below the bar chart are the best and worst returns of the Institutional Class for a calendar quarter during the full calendar-year periods covered by the bar chart. The performance table following the bar chart shows the Fund’s average annual total returns for the Institutional, Advisor, Premier, Retirement, Retail and Class W classes over the applicable one-year, five-year, ten-year and since-inception periods ended December 31, 2022, and how those returns compare to those of the Fund’s benchmark index. After-tax performance is shown only for Institutional Class shares, and after-tax returns for the other classes of shares will vary from the after-tax returns presented for Institutional Class shares.

The returns shown below reflect previous agreements by Advisors to waive or reimburse the Fund for certain fees and expenses. Without these waivers and reimbursements, the returns of the Fund would have been lower. Past performance of the Fund (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how it will perform in the future. The benchmark index listed below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in an index. The returns for the benchmark index reflect no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa.org.

ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS FOR THE INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES (%)

Core Bond Fund

PerformanceBarChartData(2013:-1.09,2014:5.84,2015:0.72,2016:4.21,2017:4.47,2018:-0.38,2019:9.35,2020:7.87,2021:-0.96,2022:-13.24)

 The year-to-date return as of the most recent calendar quarter, which ended on June 30, 2023, was 2.71%.

Best quarter: 5.65%, for the quarter ended June 30, 2020. Worst quarter: -5.89%, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

24     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS

For the Periods Ended December 31, 2022

                       

 

 

Inception date

 

One year

 

 

Five years

 

 

Ten years

 

Institutional Class

7/1/1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.24

%

 

0.20

%

 

1.49

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions

 

 

14.24

%

 

1.02

%

 

0.17

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions and sale of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fund shares

 

 

7.82

%

 

0.28

%

 

0.60

%

Advisor Class

12/4/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.44

%

 

0.05

%

 

1.41

%#

Premier Class

9/30/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.37

%

 

0.02

%

 

1.33

%

Retirement Class

3/31/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.44

%

 

0.05

%

 

1.24

%

Retail Class

3/31/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

13.47

%

 

0.11

%

 

1.19

%

Class W

9/28/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

12.99

%

 

0.44

%#

 

1.61

%#

                       

Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(reflects no deductions for fees, expenses or taxes)

 

 

13.01

%

 

0.02

%

 

1.06

%

                       

Current performance of the Fund’s shares may be higher or lower than that shown above.

#

The performance shown for the Advisor Class and Class W that is prior to their respective inception dates is based on performance of the Institutional Class. The performance for these periods has not been restated to reflect the actual expenses of the Advisor Class and Class W. If these actual expenses had been reflected, the performance of these two classes shown for these periods would have been different because the Advisor Class and Class W have different expenses than the Institutional Class.

 

After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates in effect during the periods shown and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on the investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. The after-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). After-tax returns are shown for only one class, and after-tax returns for other classes will vary.

 

For the Fund’s most current 30-day yield, please call the Fund at 800-842-2252.

   

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, LLC.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons are primarily responsible for the management of the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

       
       

Name:

Joseph Higgins, CFA

Jason O’Brien, CFA

Peter Agrimson, CFA

Title:

Managing Director

Managing Director

Managing Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2011

since 2019

since 2023

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     25


Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Advisor Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries, employee benefit plans and insurance company separate accounts. Premier Class and Retirement Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans, other types of savings plans or accounts and certain financial intermediaries. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at www.tiaa.org or 800-223-1200. Class W shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund only by funds advised by Advisors or its affiliates or other clients or accounts of Advisors or its affiliates that are subject to a contractual fee for advisory, management or other similar or related services provided by Advisors or its affiliates.

· The minimum initial investment is $2 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates. Employee benefit plans, fee-based managed account programs (“wrap accounts”), state sponsored 529 college savings plans, collective trust funds, investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles, thrifts and bank and trust companies that have entered into agreements to offer Institutional Class shares held in omnibus accounts on the books of the Fund are exempt from initial and subsequent investment minimums.

· There are no minimum initial or subsequent investment requirements for Advisor Class, Premier Class, Retirement Class or Class W shares.

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or its affiliated exchanges, NYSE Arca Equities or NYSE American, are open for trading (each such day a “Business Day”). Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally

26     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the financial intermediary for providing investor services. The Fund’s related companies may also pay the financial intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     27


 

Summary information

TIAA-CREF Core Impact Bond Fund

Investment objective

The Fund seeks total return, primarily through current income, while giving special consideration to certain environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) criteria.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

                     
 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on purchases (percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum deferred sales charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on reinvested dividends and other distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or exchange fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account maintenance fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

$15.00

 

28     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

                       

 

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management fees

0.33%

 

0.33%

 

0.33%

 

0.33%

 

0.33%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) fees

 

 

0.15%

 

 

0.25%

 

Other expenses

0.04%

 

0.10%

 

0.18%

 

0.29%

 

0.05%

 

Total annual Fund operating expenses

0.37%

 

0.43%

 

0.66%

 

0.62%

 

0.63%

 

Waivers and expense reimbursements1

 

 

(0.11)%

 

 

 

Total annual Fund operating expenses after
  fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement

0.37%

 

0.43%

 

0.55%

 

0.62%

 

0.63%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

1

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC, has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total annual Fund operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.40% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.55% of average daily net assets for Advisor Class shares; (iii) 0.55% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iv) 0.65% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; and (v) 0.75% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least July 31, 2024, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement arrangements will each remain in place for the durations noted in the table above. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

                               

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

1 year

$

38

 

$

44

 

$

56

 

$

63

 

$

64

 

3 years

$

119

 

$

138

 

$

200

 

$

199

 

$

202

 

5 years

$

208

 

$

241

 

$

357

 

$

346

 

$

351

 

10 years

$

468

 

$

542

 

$

812

 

$

774

 

$

786

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the fiscal year

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     29


ended March 31, 2023, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 171% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in bonds. For these purposes, bonds include fixed-income securities of all types. The Fund primarily invests in a broad range of investment-grade bonds and fixed-income securities, including, but not limited to, U.S. Government securities, corporate bonds, taxable municipal securities and mortgage-backed or other asset-backed securities. The Fund may also invest in other fixed-income securities, including those of non-investment-grade quality (usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds”). Securities of non-investment-grade quality are speculative in nature. The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities of any duration. As of May 31, 2023, the duration of the Fund’s benchmark index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, was 6.27 years. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The Fund is actively managed and does not rely exclusively on rating agencies when making investment decisions. Instead, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC (“Advisors”) performs its own credit analysis, paying particular attention to economic trends and other market events. Subject to the ESG criteria and Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”)’s proprietary Impact framework described below, individual securities or sectors may be overweighted or underweighted relative to the Fund’s benchmark index, when Advisors believes that the Fund can boost returns above that of the index.

When selecting investments for the Fund, Advisors considers certain ESG criteria or Impact framework. The Fund’s Impact framework, described in more detail below, provides direct exposure to issuers or projects that Advisors believes have the potential to have social or environmental benefits. The ESG criteria are generally implemented based on data provided by independent research vendor(s). In those limited cases where independent ESG criteria are not available for certain types of securities or for certain issuers, these securities may nonetheless be eligible for the Fund should they meet certain internal ESG criteria.

The corporate issuer evaluation process favors companies with leadership in ESG performance relative to their peers. Typically, environmental assessment categories include climate change, natural resource use, waste management and environmental opportunities. Social evaluation categories include human capital, product safety and social opportunities. Governance assessment categories include corporate governance, business ethics and government & public policy. How well companies adhere to international norms and principles and involvement in major ESG controversies (examples of which may relate to the environment, customers, human rights & community, labor rights & supply chain, and governance) are other considerations.

The ESG evaluation process with respect to corporate issuers is conducted on an industry-specific basis and involves the identification of key performance indicators, which are given more or less relative weight compared to the broader

30     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


range of potential assessment categories. When ESG concerns exist, the evaluation process gives careful consideration to how companies address the risks and opportunities they face in the context of their sector or industry and relative to their peers. The Fund will not generally invest in companies significantly involved in certain business activities including, but not limited to, the production of alcohol, tobacco, military weapons, firearms, nuclear power, thermal coal, and gambling products and services.

The ESG evaluation process with respect to government issuers favors issuers with leadership in ESG performance relative to all peers. Typically, environmental assessment categories include the issuer’s ability to protect, harness, and supplement its natural resources, and to manage environmental vulnerabilities and externalities. Social assessment categories include the issuer’s ability to develop a healthy, productive, and stable workforce and knowledge capital, and to create a supportive economic environment. Governance assessment categories include the issuer’s institutional capacity to support long-term stability and well-functioning financial, judicial, and political systems, and capacity to address environmental and social risks. The government ESG evaluation process is conducted on a global basis and reflects how an issuer’s exposure to and management of ESG risk factors may affect the long-term sustainability of its economy.

While Advisors may invest in issuers that meet these criteria, it is not required to invest in every issuer that meets these criteria. In addition, concerns with respect to one ESG assessment category may not automatically eliminate an issuer from being considered an eligible Fund investment. The ESG criteria and the Impact framework the Fund takes into consideration are both non-fundamental investment policies and may be changed without the approval of the Fund’s shareholders.

The Fund is not restricted from investing in any securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities. Advisors considers investments in these securities to be consistent with the Fund’s ESG criteria.

The Fund also invests in certain asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities and other securities that represent interests in assets such as pools of mortgage loans, automobile loans or credit card receivables. These securities are typically issued by legal entities established specifically to hold assets and to issue debt obligations backed by those assets. Asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities are normally created or “sponsored” by banks or other institutions or by certain U.S. Government-sponsored enterprises (“GSEs”) such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). Advisors does not take into consideration whether the sponsor of an asset-backed security in which the Fund invests meets the ESG criteria or the Fund’s Impact framework. That is because asset-backed securities represent interests in pools of loans, and not of the ongoing business enterprise of the sponsor. It is therefore possible that the Fund could invest in an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security sponsored by a bank or other financial institution in which the Fund could not invest directly.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     31


The Fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities can include pass-through securities sold by private, governmental and government-related organizations and collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). Mortgage pass-through securities are created when mortgages are pooled together and interests in the pool are sold to investors. The cash flow from the underlying mortgages is “passed through” to investors in periodic principal and interest payments. CMOs are obligations that are fully collateralized directly or indirectly by a pool of mortgages from which payments of principal and interest are dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on the CMO.

The Board of Trustees of the Trust or a designated committee thereof (“Board of Trustees”) reviews the ESG criteria used to evaluate securities held by the Fund and the ESG vendor(s) that provide the data that help inform this criteria. Subject to Board review, Advisors has the right to change the ESG vendor(s) at any time and to add to the number of vendors providing the ESG data.

Additionally, Advisors invests a portion of the Fund’s assets in fixed-income instruments taking into consideration the Impact framework as implemented by the Fund’s portfolio management team. As of March 31, 2023, these investments were 41.1% of the portfolio. These investments provide direct exposure to issuers and/or individual projects that Advisors, through its proprietary analysis, believes have the potential to have social or environmental benefits. Within this exposure to impact investments, the Fund seeks opportunities to invest in publicly traded fixed-income securities that finance initiatives in areas including affordable housing, community and economic development, renewable energy and climate change, and natural resources. These investments will be selected based on the same financial criteria used by Advisors in selecting the Fund’s other fixed-income investments. The portion of the Fund invested in accordance with the Impact framework is not additionally subject to ESG criteria. Advisors engages with certain issuers of investments deemed by Advisors to represent impact securities to communicate impact reporting preferences and encourage alignment with industry best practices regarding responsible investment.

Investing on the basis of ESG criteria and according to the Fund’s Impact framework is qualitative and subjective by nature. There can be no assurance that every Fund investment will meet ESG criteria or the Impact framework, or will do so at all times, or that the ESG criteria and the Impact framework or any judgment exercised by Advisors will reflect the beliefs or values of any particular investor.

The Fund may also use a trading technique called “mortgage rolls” or “dollar rolls” in which the Fund “rolls over” an investment in a mortgage-backed security before its settlement date in exchange for a similar security with a later settlement date.

The Fund may also engage in relative value trading, a strategy in which the Fund reallocates assets across different sectors and maturities. Relative value trading is designed to enhance the Fund’s returns but increases the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate.

32     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


The Fund may purchase and sell futures, options, swaps, forwards and other fixed-income derivative instruments to carry out the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund may also invest in foreign securities, including emerging markets fixed-income securities and non-dollar-denominated instruments. Under most circumstances, the Fund’s investments in fixed-income securities of foreign issuers constitute less than 40% of the Fund’s assets.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· ESG Criteria and Impact Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s ESG criteria and/or proprietary Impact framework exclude securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Fund may forgo some market opportunities available to funds that do not use these criteria.

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that increases in interest rates can cause the prices of fixed-income investments to decline. This risk is heightened to the extent the Fund invests in longer duration fixed-income investments and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. Low interest rates may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates, and the Fund may also be subject to heightened levels of interest rate risk due to rising interest rates (including a sharp rise in interest rates). In general, changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Prepayment Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans sooner than expected, forcing the Fund to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates and resulting in a decline in income.

· Extension Risk—The risk that, during periods of rising interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans later than expected, preventing the Fund from reinvesting principal proceeds at higher interest rates and resulting in less income than potentially available.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that the issuer of fixed-income investments may not be able or willing, or may be perceived (whether by market participants, rating agencies, pricing services or otherwise) as not able or willing, to meet interest or principal payments when the payments become due.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     33


· Credit Spread Risk—The risk that credit spreads (i.e., the difference in yield between securities that is due to differences in each security’s respective credit quality) may increase when market participants believe that bonds generally have a greater risk of default, which could result in a decline in the market values of the Fund’s debt securities.

· Income Volatility Risk—The risk that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income investments may decline in certain interest rate environments.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—The risk that volatile or dramatic reductions in trading activity make it difficult for the Fund to properly value its investments and that the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell an investment at an attractive price, if at all.

· Fixed-Income Foreign Investment Risk—Investment in fixed-income securities or financial instruments of foreign issuers involves increased risks due to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments as well as armed conflicts. These developments may impact the ability of a foreign debt issuer to make timely and ultimate payments on its debt obligations to the Fund or impair the Fund’s ability to enforce its rights against the foreign debt issuer. These risks are heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also have lower overall liquidity and be more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers. Foreign investments may also be subject to risk of loss because of more or less foreign government regulation, less public information, less stringent investor protections, and less stringent accounting, corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure standards. The imposition of sanctions, exchange controls (including repatriation restrictions), confiscations, trade restrictions (including tariffs) and other restrictions by the United States or other governments may also negatively impact the Fund’s investments. Economic sanctions and other similar governmental actions or developments could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell certain foreign securities or groups of foreign securities, and/or thus may make the Fund’s investments in such securities less liquid (or illiquid) or more difficult to value. The type and severity of sanctions and other measures that may be imposed could vary broadly in scope, and their impact is impossible to predict.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that Advisors’ strategy, investment selection or trading execution may cause the Fund to underperform relative to the benchmark index or mutual funds with similar investment objectives and may not produce expected returns.

· Call Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, an issuer may call (or repay) a fixed-income security prior to maturity, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

· Mortgage Roll RiskThe risk that Advisors will not correctly predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates, which will diminish the Fund’s performance.

34     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


· Downgrade Risk—The risk that securities are subsequently downgraded should Advisors and/or rating agencies believe the issuer’s business outlook or creditworthiness has deteriorated.

· Non-Investment-Grade Securities Risk—Issuers of non-investment-grade securities, which are usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically speculative in nature, in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating. In times of unusual or adverse market, economic or political conditions, these securities may experience higher than normal default rates.

· Illiquid Investments RiskThe risk that illiquid investments may be difficult to sell for the value at which they are carried, if at all, or at any price within the desired time frame.

· U.S. Government Securities Risk—Securities issued by the U.S. Government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities may receive varying levels of support from the U.S. Government, which could affect the Fund’s ability to recover should they default. To the extent the Fund invests significantly in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, any market movements, regulatory changes or changes in political or economic conditions that affect the securities of the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities in which the Fund invests may have a significant impact on the Fund’s performance.

· Derivatives Risk—The risks associated with investing in derivatives and other similar instruments (referred to collectively as “derivatives”) may be different and greater than the risks associated with directly investing in the underlying securities and other instruments, and include leverage risk, market risk, counterparty risk, liquidity risk, operational risk and legal risk. The Fund may use more complex derivatives that might be particularly susceptible to liquidity, credit and counterparty risk. When investing in derivatives, the Fund may lose more than the principal amount invested.

· Portfolio Turnover Risk—Depending on market and other conditions, the Fund may experience high portfolio turnover, which may result in greater transactional expenses, such as brokerage commissions, bid-ask spreads, or dealer mark-ups, and capital gains (which could increase taxes and, consequently, reduce returns).

· Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk—Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     35


Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

The following chart and table help illustrate some of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year. The bar chart shows the annual total returns of the Institutional Class of the Fund, before taxes, in each full calendar year since inception of the Institutional Class. Because the expenses vary across share classes, the performance of the Institutional Class may vary from the other share classes. Below the bar chart are the best and worst returns of the Institutional Class for a calendar quarter during the full calendar-year periods covered by the bar chart. The performance table following the bar chart shows the Fund’s average annual total returns for the Institutional, Advisor, Premier, Retirement and Retail classes over the applicable one-year, five-year, ten-year and since-inception periods ended December 31, 2022, and how those returns compare to those of the Fund’s benchmark index. After-tax performance is shown only for Institutional Class shares, and after-tax returns for the other classes of shares will vary from the after-tax returns presented for Institutional Class shares.

The returns shown below reflect previous agreements by Advisors to waive or reimburse the Fund for certain fees and expenses. Without these waivers and reimbursements, the returns of the Fund would have been lower. Past performance of the Fund (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how it will perform in the future. The benchmark index listed below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in an index. The returns for the benchmark index reflect no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa.org.

ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS FOR THE INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES (%)

Core Impact Bond Fund

PerformanceBarChartData(2013:-1.27,2014:8.8,2015:1.18,2016:3.19,2017:4.51,2018:0.33,2019:8.73,2020:7.45,2021:-1.03,2022:-14.01)

36     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


 The year-to-date return as of the most recent calendar quarter, which ended on June 30, 2023, was 2.61%.

Best quarter: 5.13%, for the quarter ended June 30, 2020. Worst quarter: -5.99%, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL RETURNS

For the Periods Ended December 31, 2022

                       

 

 

Inception date

 

One year

 

 

Five years

 

 

Ten years

 

Institutional Class

9/21/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

14.01

%

 

0.05

%

 

1.57

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions

 

 

14.95

%

 

1.25

%

 

0.39

%

 

Return after taxes on distributions and sale of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fund shares

 

 

8.28

%

 

0.46

%

 

0.73

%

Advisor Class

12/4/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

14.15

%

 

0.14

%

 

1.51

%#

Premier Class

9/21/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

14.25

%

 

0.24

%

 

1.41

%

Retirement Class

9/21/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

14.23

%

 

0.30

%

 

1.32

%

Retail Class

9/21/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return before taxes

 

 

14.26

%

 

0.34

%

 

1.28

%

                       

Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(reflects no deductions for fees, expenses or taxes)

 

 

13.01

%

 

0.02

%

 

1.06

%

                       

Current performance of the Fund’s shares may be higher or lower than that shown above.

#

The performance shown for the Advisor Class that is prior to its inception date is based on performance of the Institutional Class. The performance for these periods has not been restated to reflect the actual expenses of the Advisor Class. If these actual expenses had been reflected, the performance of the Advisor Class shown for these periods would have been different because the Advisor Class has different expenses than the Institutional Class.

 

After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates in effect during the periods shown and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on the investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. The after-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). After-tax returns are shown for only one class, and after-tax returns for other classes will vary.

 

For the Fund’s most current 30-day yield, please call the Fund at 800-842-2252.

   

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, LLC.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons are primarily responsible for the management of the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     37


       
       

Name:

Joseph Higgins, CFA

Stephen Liberatore, CFA

Jessica Zarzycki, CFA

Title:

Managing Director

Managing Director

Senior Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2012

since 2012

since 2019

Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Advisor Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries, employee benefit plans and insurance company separate accounts. Premier Class and Retirement Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans, other types of savings plans or accounts and certain financial intermediaries. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at www.tiaa.org or 800-223-1200.

· The minimum initial investment is $2 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates. Employee benefit plans, fee-based managed account programs (“wrap accounts”), state sponsored 529 college savings plans, collective trust funds, investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles, thrifts and bank and trust companies that have entered into agreements to offer Institutional Class shares held in omnibus accounts on the books of the Fund are exempt from initial and subsequent investment minimums.

· There are no minimum initial or subsequent investment requirements for Advisor Class, Premier Class or Retirement Class shares.

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or its affiliated exchanges, NYSE Arca Equities or NYSE American, are open for trading (each such day a “Business Day”). Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally

38     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the financial intermediary for providing investor services. The Fund’s related companies may also pay the financial intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     39


 

Summary information

TIAA-CREF Core Plus Bond Fund

Investment objective

The Fund seeks total return, primarily through current income.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

                         
 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement Class

 

Retail Class

 

Class W

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on purchases (percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum deferred sales charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum sales charge imposed on reinvested dividends and other distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or exchange fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account maintenance fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

$15.00

 

0%

 

ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

                           

 

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management fees

0.29%

 

0.29%

 

0.29%

 

0.29%

 

0.29%

 

0.29%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) fees

 

 

0.15%

 

 

0.25%

 

 

Other expenses

0.01%

 

0.09%

 

0.01%

 

0.26%

 

0.08%

 

0.01%

 

Total annual Fund operating expenses

0.30%

 

0.38%

 

0.45%

 

0.55%

 

0.62%

 

0.30%

 

Waivers and expense reimbursements1

 

 

 

 

 

(0.30)%

2 

Total annual Fund operating expenses after
  fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement

0.30%

 

0.38%

 

0.45%

 

0.55%

 

0.62%

 

0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


   

1

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, LLC, has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total annual Fund operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.35% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.50% of average daily net assets for Advisor Class shares; (iii) 0.50% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iv) 0.60% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; (v) 0.70% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares; and (vi) 0.35% of average daily net assets for Class W shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least July 31, 2024, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

2

Teachers Advisors, LLC has contractually agreed to waive and/or reimburse Class W’s Management fees and Other expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired fund fees and expenses, Trustee expenses and extraordinary expenses) in their entirety. Teachers Advisors, LLC expects these waiver and/or reimbursement arrangements to remain in effect indefinitely, unless changed or terminated with approval of the Board of Trustees.

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement arrangements will each remain in place for the durations noted in the table above. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

                                     

 

Institutional
Class

 

Advisor
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Retail
Class

 

Class W

 

1 year

$

31

 

$

39

 

$

46

 

$

56

 

$

63

 

$

0

 

3 years

$

97

 

$

122

 

$

144

 

$

176

 

$

199

 

$

0

 

5 years

$

169

 

$

213

 

$

252

 

$

307

 

$

346

 

$

0

 

10 years

$

381

 

$

480

 

$

567

 

$

689

 

$

774

 

$

0

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 143% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in bonds. For these purposes, bonds include fixed-income securities of all types. The Fund’s portfolio is divided into two segments. The first segment, which makes up at least 70% of the Fund’s assets, is invested primarily in a broad

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     41


range of investment-grade bonds and fixed-income securities, including, but not limited to, corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury and agency securities and mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. The securities within the Fund’s first segment are mainly high-quality instruments rated in the top four credit categories by Moody’s or S&P, or deemed to be of the same quality by Teachers Advisors, LLC (“Advisors”) using its own credit analysis. The second segment, which will not exceed 30% of the Fund’s assets, is invested in fixed-income securities and bonds with special features in an effort to improve the Fund’s total return. Potential investments in this segment include, but are not limited to, non-investment-grade securities (those rated Ba1 or lower by Moody’s or BB+ or lower by S&P), emerging market fixed-income securities, convertible and preferred securities, senior loans and loan participations and assignments and notes. Non-investment-grade securities are usually called “high yield” or “junk bonds” and are speculative in nature. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities of any duration. As of May 31, 2023, the duration of the Fund’s benchmark index, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, was 6.27 years.

The Fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities can include pass-through securities sold by private, governmental and government-related organizations and collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). Mortgage pass-through securities are created when mortgages are pooled together and interests in the pool are sold to investors. The cash flow from the underlying mortgages is “passed through” to investors in periodic principal and interest payments. CMOs are obligations that are fully collateralized directly or indirectly by a pool of mortgages from which payments of principal and interest are dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on the CMO.

The Fund may use an investment strategy called “mortgage rolls” (also referred to as “dollar rolls”), in which the Fund sells securities for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts with a counterparty to repurchase similar (same type, coupon and maturity) but not identical securities on a specified future date. The Fund loses the right to receive principal and interest paid on the securities sold. However, the Fund would benefit to the extent of any price received for the securities sold and the lower forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”) plus the interest earned on the short-term investment awaiting the settlement date of the forward purchase. If such benefits exceed the income and gain or loss due to mortgage repayments that would have been realized on the securities sold as part of the mortgage roll, the use of this technique will enhance the investment performance of the Fund compared with what such performance would have been without the use of mortgage rolls. Realizing benefits from the use of mortgage rolls depends upon the ability of Advisors to predict correctly mortgage prepayments and interest rates.

42     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


The Fund can make foreign investments, including investments in emerging market countries and non-dollar-denominated instruments, but the Fund does not expect such investments to exceed 25% of its assets under most circumstances.

The Fund may also engage in relative value trading, a strategy in which the Fund reallocates assets across different sectors and maturities. Relative value trading is designed to enhance the Fund’s returns but increases the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate.

The Fund may purchase and sell futures, options, swaps, forwards and other fixed-income derivative instruments to carry out the Fund’s investment strategies.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that increases in interest rates can cause the prices of fixed-income investments to decline. This risk is heightened to the extent the Fund invests in longer duration fixed-income investments and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. Low interest rates may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates, and the Fund may also be subject to heightened levels of interest rate risk due to rising interest rates (including a sharp rise in interest rates). In general, changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Prepayment Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans sooner than expected, forcing the Fund to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates and resulting in a decline in income.

· Extension Risk—The risk that, during periods of rising interest rates, borrowers may pay off their mortgage loans later than expected, preventing the Fund from reinvesting principal proceeds at higher interest rates and resulting in less income than potentially available.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that the issuer of fixed-income investments may not be able or willing, or may be perceived (whether by market participants, rating agencies, pricing services or otherwise) as not able or willing, to meet interest or principal payments when the payments become due.

· Credit Spread Risk—The risk that credit spreads (i.e., the difference in yield between securities that is due to differences in each security’s respective

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     43


credit quality) may increase when market participants believe that bonds generally have a greater risk of default, which could result in a decline in the market values of the Fund’s debt securities.

· Income Volatility Risk—The risk that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income investments may decline in certain interest rate environments.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—The risk that volatile or dramatic reductions in trading activity make it difficult for the Fund to properly value its investments and that the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell an investment at an attractive price, if at all.

· Portfolio Turnover Risk—Depending on market and other conditions, the Fund may experience high portfolio turnover, which may result in greater transactional expenses, such as brokerage commissions, bid-ask spreads, or dealer mark-ups, and capital gains (which could increase taxes and, consequently, reduce returns).

· Fixed-Income Foreign Investment Risk—Investment in fixed-income securities or financial instruments of foreign issuers involves increased risks due to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments as well as armed conflicts. These developments may impact the ability of a foreign debt issuer to make timely and ultimate payments on its debt obligations to the Fund or impair the Fund’s ability to enforce its rights against the foreign debt issuer. These risks are heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also have lower overall liquidity and be more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers. Foreign investments may also be subject to risk of loss because of more or less foreign government regulation, less public information, less stringent investor protections, and less stringent accounting, corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure standards. The imposition of sanctions, exchange controls (including repatriation restrictions), confiscations, trade restrictions (including tariffs) and other restrictions by the United States or other governments may also negatively impact the Fund’s investments. Economic sanctions and other similar governmental actions or developments could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell certain foreign securities or groups of foreign securities, and/or thus may make the Fund’s investments in such securities less liquid (or illiquid) or more difficult to value. The type and severity of sanctions and other measures that may be imposed could vary broadly in scope, and their impact is impossible to predict.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that Advisors’ strategy, investment selection or trading execution may cause the Fund to underperform relative to the benchmark index or mutual funds with similar investment objectives and may not produce expected returns.

44     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds


· Call Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, an issuer may call (or repay) a fixed-income security prior to maturity, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

· Mortgage Roll RiskThe risk that Advisors will not correctly predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates, which will diminish the Fund’s performance.

· Downgrade Risk—The risk that securities are subsequently downgraded should Advisors and/or rating agencies believe the issuer’s business outlook or creditworthiness has deteriorated.

· Non-Investment-Grade Securities Risk—Issuers of non-investment-grade securities, which are usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically speculative in nature, in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating. In times of unusual or adverse market, economic or political conditions, these securities may experience higher than normal default rates.

· Illiquid Investments RiskThe risk that illiquid investments may be difficult to sell for the value at which they are carried, if at all, or at any price within the desired time frame.

· Emerging Markets Risk—The risk of foreign investment often increases in countries with emerging markets or otherwise economically tied to emerging market countries. For example, these countries may have more unstable governments than developed countries, and their economies may be based on only a few industries. Emerging market countries may also have less stringent regulation of accounting, auditing, financial reporting and recordkeeping requirements, which would affect the Fund’s ability to evaluate potential portfolio companies. As a result, there could be less information available about issuers in emerging market countries, which could negatively affect Advisors’ ability to evaluate local companies or their potential impact on the Fund’s performance. Because their financial markets may be very small, share prices of financial instruments in emerging market countries may be volatile and difficult to determine. Financial instruments of issuers in these countries may have lower overall liquidity than those of issuers in more developed countries. In addition, foreign investors such as the Fund are subject to a variety of special restrictions in many emerging market countries. Moreover, legal remedies for investors in emerging markets may be more limited, and U.S. authorities may have less ability to bring actions against bad actors in emerging market countries.

· Senior Loan Risk—Many senior loans present credit risk comparable to high-yield securities. The liquidation of the collateral backing a senior loan may not satisfy the borrower’s obligation to the Fund in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal. Senior loans also expose the Fund to call risk and illiquid investments risk. The secondary market for senior loans can

TIAA-CREF Fixed-Income & Real Estate Securities Funds    Prospectus     45


be limited. Trades can be infrequent and the values for senior loans may experience volatility. In some cases, negotiations for the sale or settlement of senior loans may require weeks to complete, which may impair the Fund’s ability to raise cash to satisfy redemptions, pay dividends, pay expenses or to take advantage of other investment opportunities in a timely manner. If an issuer of a senior loan prepays or redeems the loan prior to maturity, the Fund will have to reinvest the proceeds in other senior loans or instruments that may pay lower interest rates.

· U.S. Government Securities Risk—Securities issued by the U.S. Government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities may receive varying levels of support from the U.S. Government, which could affect the Fund’s ability to recover should they default. To the extent the Fund invests significantly in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, any market movements, regulatory changes or changes in political or economic conditions that affect the securities of the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities in which the Fund invests may have a significant impact on the Fund’s performance.

· Derivatives Risk—The risks associated with investing in derivatives and other similar instruments (referred to collectively as “derivatives”) may be different and greater than the risks associated with directly investing in the underlying securities and other instruments, and include leverage risk, market risk, counterparty risk, liquidity risk, operational risk and legal risk. The Fund may use more complex derivatives that might be particularly susceptible to liquidity, credit and counterparty risk. When investing in derivatives, the Fund may lose more than the principal amount invested.

· Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk—Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

The following chart and table help illustrate some of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year. The bar chart shows the annual total returns of the Institutional Class of the Fund, before taxes, in each full calendar year for the last ten years. Because the expenses vary across share classes, the performance of the Institutional Class may vary from the other share classes. Below the bar chart are the best and worst returns of the Institutional Class for a calendar quarter during the full

46