CTPF Executive Director Testifies in Springfield
January 24, 2017, CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge offered testimony before the Illinois Senate Executive Committee in Springfield, Ill. The committee held subject matter hearings on several bills including Senate Bill 5 and Senate Bill 11, both sponsored by Senate President John J. Cullerton.
CTPF supports Senate Bill 5 which would provide additional revenue for the Fund, and Burbridge answered a series of questions about the proposal. "I appreciated this opportunity to testify on behalf of our members and to help the fact-finding process," said Burbridge. "CTPF serves as an 'honest broker' in these discussions, and the information I shared helps our elected representatives understand the needs of our Fund and the impact that legislation will have on our long-term financial stability."
- CTPF supports SB 5 which requires the State to contribute $215 million for fiscal year 2017, $221.3 million in fiscal year 2018, and pay the Fund's "normal cost" beginning with fiscal year 2019. This bill helps bring financial parity with other state pension systems and ensures a stable revenue source for CTPF.
- CTPF has not taken a position on Senate Bill 11, a reform measure which offers "consideration" to active Tier 1* members who elect a future pension with an automatic annual increase based on the Tier 2 model.
- The Executive Committee did not take any action on either bill.
CTPF will continue to update members on the status of these bills, and will provide additional information as it becomes available.
*Tier 1 includes members who joined CTPF or a qualified reciprocal system before 1/1/2011.
CTPF Executive Director Responds to Pension Funding Bill Veto
"Education funding reform is a must for our state and pension parity is one important avenue for achieving this goal."
December 2, 2016 - On Thursday, December 1, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would appropriate $215.2M to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund for FY 2017. The Illinois Senate immediately moved to override the veto by a vote of 36-16. The House has up to 15 days to pass the funding bill that will support Chicago’s students and teachers.
As Executive Director of your pension fund, I can assure you that yesterday's decision will not impact anyone who is receiving a pension. I can also assure you that the Fund will continue to advocate for legislative changes that bring state funding of pensions into parity. By not receiving equal funding support for Chicago teachers' pensions, the State is taking valuable education resources away from Chicago's students. As educators, retired and active, we know the impact that this decision will have on our children.
We believe tethering required education resources to unspecified changes that have historically been difficult to find agreement on can only result in hurting students. Education funding reform is a must for our state and pension parity is one important avenue for achieving this goal.
As disappointed as we are by the veto, we are encouraged by the number of legislators who are giving voice to this critical issue. We will continue to work closely with Springfield to help ensure these and other important issues receive the attention they require for real change to happen.
Finally, we thank you for the support you've shown for the Fund as we work to secure your retirement benefits.
Charles A. Burbridge
Teacher and Administrator Elections Update
October 7, 2016 – Each year during the first week in November, CTPF schedules elections for trustees to the Board of Directors. Candidate petitions for two seats at Teacher Trustees and one Administrator Trustee were due by end of business on Friday, September 30, 2016. Three teachers submitted petitions for the Teacher Trustee positions. There were no submissions for the Administrator Trustee position. The petitions for each of the three Teacher Trustee nominees were sent to a third-party election services provider for certification.
According to Illinois Pension Code 40 ILCS 5/17-139 (1), "the name of a candidate shall not be placed on the ballot unless he or she has been assigned on a regular certificate for at least 10 years in the Chicago public schools or charter schools and nominated by a petition signed by not less than 200 contributors who are not administrators."
Two candidates produced the required number of signatures after verification and were certified as candidates. Since the number of candidates did not exceed the open Teacher positions, the certified candidates were declared elected. Since no Administrator Trustee petitions were filed, the current Trustee representative retains the position until a time when he chooses to resign the post or the next election period. The Teacher and Administrator elections scheduled for November 2-3, 2016 have been cancelled.
Teacher and Trustees Elected
Jeffery Blackwell and Bernie Eshoo were re-elected Teacher Trustees. Jerry Travlos will remain Administrator Trustee. Blackwell, Eshoo, and Travlos will be re-installed at the November 10, 2016, CTPF Board of Trustees meeting, and will serve three-year terms from November 2016 – November 2019.
CTPF Releases Pension Economic Impact Studies
October 6, 2016 – Nearly $17 billion in new economic activity in Illinois was generated last year by pension benefits paid annually to retired Illinois teachers and government workers according to a new report produced by a collective of reciprocal Illinois pension funds.
Details of the positive effect public pensions have on the Illinois economy are outlined in a new report released by the leaders of eight Illinois public retirement systems that together have a membership exceeding 876,000 state taxpayers – or nearly 9 percent of Illinois’ adult population.
In fact, public employees represent 10 percent (or more) of the local population in 14 Illinois House districts. Six (6) Illinois Senate districts also have percentages in the double digits. This percentage doesn’t take into account family members who depend on the pension member for financial security.
"Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund has been producing a report like this for a number of years using CTPF data alone," said Jay C. Rehak, CTPF President of the Board of Trustees. "We know from our report that Chicago teachers' pensions make an impact everywhere in the state. It was time to look at the larger picture. This is one way to help people understand the bigger influence pension benefits have on the Illinois economy."
On the CTPF website there are three reports that combine to tell the economic impact of pensions on Chicago, Illinois and the nation. To learn more, go to:
- Pensions' Positive Impact on Illinois Economy - Full Press Release
- Illinois Public Pensions – Making a Difference Economic Impact Report 2016
- Illinois Public Pensions Economic Impact – Infographic
- Pensionomics 2016 from the National Institute on Retirement Security
- Pensionomics 2016 – Infographic
CTPF Again Leader in Diversity Investments
August 2016 – Investments with women- and minority-owned money managers by pension funds in Illinois have grown, but none more so than the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund.
CTPF has been the leader in the field outpacing other pension funds in Chicago and across the state. At a special hearing held on August 11 -12, 2016 in Chicago, the Illinois Special Committee on Pension Investments' co-chaired Sen. Kwame Raoul stated that CTPF has "embraced [diversity] at every level."
As of May 31, 2016, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund has invested $3.3 billion or 35 percent of total Fund assets with minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprise firms (MWDBE), well above the Fund's set policy goal of 20 percent.
"We are pleased that for the seventh consecutive year CTPF has received the praise of the committee for our continued commitment to diversity in selecting our business partners and our staff," said Chuck Burbridge, executive director of the pension fund. "More importantly, we recognize the importance of being in the forefront and ensuring that minorities, women, and persons with disabilities have many opportunities to work for and conduct business with CTPF."
Law Firms Representing CTPF Appointed Co-Lead Counsel in Antitrust Litigation
August 2016 - Last November, The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund filed a lawsuit charging a number of the world's largest investment banks with conspiring to engineer and maintain a collusive and anti-competitive stranglehold over the market for interest rate swaps (IRS) in violation of federal antitrust laws – an action that harms investors in one of the world's biggest financial markets.
On August 3, 2016, in a Court ruling, the law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, both representing the Chicago Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund, were appointed co-lead counsel in the lawsuit. The investors, led by the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, seek an injunction to put an end to this anti-competitive arrangement, and damages to compensate them for the injuries they have suffered.
"This is an important case against the biggest investment banks in the country. In addition to pension funds like the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF), the banks' conduct impacted municipalities, along with hedge funds, university endowment funds and other institutional investors. It is important that trading in interest swaps be transparent and done through exchanges in order to protect end-users like CTPF, and that investors be able to recover damages. Those are the goals of this lawsuit," said Cohen Milstein partner Carol Gilden. "We are very pleased with the Court's ruling appointing Cohen Milstein and our co-counsel, Quinn Emanuel, as co-lead counsel."
According to the complaint filed in November in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, interest rate swaps have been standardized and ripe for exchange trading for years. Exchange trading brings transparent and competitive pricing and faster execution to a market, thus bringing significant benefits to investors. For instance, when foreign exchange trading recently started to move to electronic trading platforms, the bid/offer spread for certain currency transactions declined by over 50 percent.
Jay Rehak, President of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, added, "The conspiracy here shocked us – both with its scope, the prominence of the conspirators, and its impact on an important market. We realize that many investors would be hesitant to challenge the behavior of a group of the world's biggest banks, but we decided that if we did not step up, maybe nobody would. A level playing field will serve everyone."
The "Dealer Defendant" banks include Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS.
The Cohen Milstein team is led by Carol Gilden, J. Douglas Richards and Michael Eisenkraft, of Cohen Milstein's Chicago and New York offices. The Quinn Emanuel team is led by Daniel L. Brockett. For more information about Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago v. Bank of America Corporation, et al, please visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com/case-study/interest-rate-swaps-litigation.
CPS Makes Contribution Payment to the Fund
June 2016 - On June 30, 2016, CTPF received $657 million from the Chicago Public Schools as their portion of the pension contribution. This marks the third straight year CPS has made a significant payment to secure your retirement benefits. We have witnessed over $1.9 billion contributed to the fund in three years – a substantial step in safeguarding the future of our members. Let us all work to focus attention on ensuring equitable funding for education for all students.