Over the past decade, another major public employee pension fund reaped a higher investment return, paid less in financial fees and used fewer advisers than the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Illinois.
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which had $24 billion in assets at the end of 2010, had an average annual return of 5.4 percent (not including fees) for the 10-year period ending in 2010.
The fund couldn’t provide a net return for the 10-year period.
During that period, IMRF paid $594 million in fees to money managers, significantly less than TRS’ $1.3 billion payout. Eighty vendors were paid more than $1 million each by IMRF compared to more than 200 TRS vendors.
Another difference: IMRF, which manages pensions for local governments and school districts, is not state-funded as is TRS and four other major state-backed pensions.
IMRF was about 80 percent funded at the end of last year, according to a preliminary estimate.
In comparison, TRS is less than half funded.
Brett Chase is a Chicago-based freelance reporter and BGA investigator.