TIAA-CREF is launching a referral program that will screen and qualify advisors so 403(b) plan sponsors and participants can use them as a resource.

TIAA-CREF will offer the network in partnership with PlanTools, which will create a due diligence standard for qualifying advisors, and the Center for Due Diligence (CFDD), which will manage the program.

The network, called the TIAA-CREF Advisor Network, will be phased in over the next six months with a limited number of "charter member" advisors, according to the company. It will be officially launched nationally in early 2012.

Advisors who are accepted into the network will pay an annual fee to CFDD and will receive support from TIAA-CREF that will include personalized marketing materials and training sessions.

The network will act as a referral program to sponsors and participants who are looking for independent advisors for the delivery of retirement planning services.

"The Advisor Network's minimum standards and advisor review will assist plan sponsors in meeting their fiduciary responsibilities," TIAA-CREF said in a press release. "It will also provide participants with access to a pre-screened network of qualified investment advisors who provide participant level advice at an investment advisory fiduciary standard of care."