It is gratifying to see Illinois pension funds recognized for efforts to embrace all segments of the investment community to help achieve retirement security for our members. Though perhaps unintentionally, the July 26 editorial, "Just give 'em a chance", overlooked the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, a fund that actively works to extend opportunity.
•Minority- and female-owned firms manage 11% of our $31.5 billion fund.
•In the last 12 months, we have allocated an additional $835 million to these firms and added four additional firms to our roster.
•Recent private equity allocations have included Hispanic, African-American and female-owned firms.
All of our relationships are direct, meaning that each firm has, as your article states, been "judged on performance, just like any other manager."
Our commitment extends to brokerage and trading as well. Commissions paid to minority and female firms jumped over 60% last year, to about 8% of total commissions. Four minority firms that met our tough standards for best execution and competitive per-share costs handled 31% of the open-market trades for our most recent $715 million asset transition.
Over 200 investment professionals attended our recent Opportunity Forum in Chicago. Senior staff from every one of our investment and transition managers met with 45 minority and female brokers/dealers anxious to earn TRS portfolio trading business.
In short, we have a good record and an ongoing determination to better it.
Illinois Teachers' Retirement System