TIAA reduces client service complexity with digital twin

For more than a hundred years, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA) has been helping teachers manage their retirement funds. In recent years, onboarding new institutional clients has become a significant challenge because of the complexity of possible client configurations.

To dramatically reduce the complexity of those configurations, the non-profit financial services provider has developed an intelligent system that leverages digital twin and graph database technology to automate the process.

“At TIAA, we have a very complicated retirement product offering, based on all the regulations the IRS has,” says Alex Pecoraro, managing director and head of retirement services technology at TIAA. “In order to do the setup, it requires quite a bit of business knowledge, and we have whole teams organized around doing that. We’ve been trying to move away from doing configuration to presenting the offer to the client, letting them make choices about what the product offering is that they want to do in terms that they recognize, and then translating that back into configuration.”

A big piece of TIAA’s Defined Contribution Retirement Solutions is Outsourced Services, which calculates benefits on payroll remittance from TIAA’s institutional clients — including universities, medical facilities, and government institutions. TIAA’s Outsourced Services consist of more than 600 features, which can yield more than one trillion possible client configurations.

“Retirement plans are very complex, from regulatory rules to plan document rules,” says Paul Magro, senior director of business management at TIAA. “These rules can be done at different levels — the client level, the employer level, the location level, the employee level — so they’re very much what I would call non-linear.”

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