Diversity is Good for Business
“Using diverse investment firms is not only about creating growth and opportunity in our communities, but it’s integral to increasing our investment returns.”
-Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs
The Illinois Treasurer believes that our government should mirror the diversity in our state. And beyond that, diversity is good for business. Research demonstrates that diverse-owned companies are often well-situated to ascertain capital inefficiencies in the market, and as such, many are primed to outperform their peers. That’s why we’re focused on providing more opportunities to qualified Minority, Women, Veteran, and Disabled-owned (MWVD) financial firms and to firms with a record of equity, diversity, and inclusion within their firms.
- MWVD Business Liaison – Since 2017, staff are specifically dedicated, under the Division of Corporate Governance & Sustainable Investment, to assist MWVD investment firms in doing business with the Illinois Treasurer, assisting firms in understanding transaction needs, certification processes, and best-positioning their firms for business opportunities. Staff can be reached at MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov.
- Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) – Since 2016, the Illinois Treasurer is an active member of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, which seeks to increase the representation of Latinos and African-Americans, at all levels, within the Chicago area financial services industry by focusing on the talent pipeline, recruitment/hiring, and development/retention. In an effort to increase the representation of African Americans and Latinos within the financial services sector, the 7th Annual 2020 FSP Intern Career Conference brought together more than 250 interns and students from 14 member firms and 8 non-profit partners across Illinois.
- Advancing Equity in Banking Commission (AEBC) – The Illinois Treasurer and Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin convened a number of financial institution CEOs across the State of Illinois to discuss and subsequently join the AEB Commission to design and implement a number of solutions to address the systemic and structural racism within the banking industry. The first convening occurred on June 19, 2020, with CEOs and senior executives from Chicago’s leading financial institutions.
- ILPA Diversity in Action Signatory – As a signatory to the Institutional Limited Partners Association’s Diversity in Action Initiative, the Illinois Treasurer furthers our goal of fostering a more diverse and inclusive private equity industry. The objective of the Diversity in Action Initiative is motivate venture capital and private equity firms to adopt specific actions and best practices that advance equity, diversity and inclusion over the long-term (e.g. establish organizational goals for the recruitment, hiring and retention of women and persons of color, assign senior-level accountability for EDI responsibilities, etc.). Learn more at https://ilpa.org/ilpa_diversityinaction/.
Engaging Illinois Diverse Families in College Savings – Treasurer Frerichs in his role as Trustee and Administrator of the highly-rated 529 College Savings programs – Bright Start and Bright Directions – led an overhaul of marketing efforts to reflect the diversity of Illinois families. The Office engaged a multi-cultural marketing firm to launch a Spanish-language campaign. Both 529 programs are available to undocumented families with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs). In 2020, African-American account ownership has increased by 147%, while Latino account ownership increased by 58%.
Investment Services Sought
The Illinois Treasurer seeks a wide variety of financial services and products from MWVD firms, including, but not limited to:
Investment Management Services
||Cash & Cash Equivalents
|Custody and Safekeeping
|Cash and Check Processing
||Credit and Debit Card Processing
Other Investment Services
As set forth in Section 30 of the State Treasurer Act, 15 ILCS 505/30, it is an aspirational goal of the Illinois State Treasurer to use businesses owned by or under the control of qualified veterans of the armed forces of the United States, qualified service-disabled veterans, minority persons, women, or persons with a disability (“MWVD Persons”) for not less than 25% of the total dollar amount of funds under management, purchases of investment securities, and other contracts. Preference is accorded to qualified businesses that demonstrate or attest that (1) greater than 50% of the ownership interest of the firm is held by MWVD Persons, OR (2) greater than 75% of the firm’s senior managers are MWVD Persons.
As used herein, the following definitions apply: (i) “minority person” means a person who is any of the following: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; (ii) “woman” means a person who is of the female gender; (iii) “veteran” means a person who (1) has been a member of the armed forces of the United States or, while a citizen of the United States, was a member of the armed forces of allies of the United States in time of hostilities with a foreign country and (2) served under one or more of the following conditions: (a) served a total of at least six months, (b) served for the duration of hostilities regardless of the length of the engagement; (c) was discharged on the basis of hardship; or (d) was released from active duty because of a service connected disability and was discharged under honorable conditions; (iv) “person with a disability” means a person with a severe physical or mental disability that: (1) results from: amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, an intellectual disability, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, including stroke and epilepsy, paraplegia, quadriplegia and other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, ulcerative colitis, specific learning disabilities, or end stage renal failure disease; and (2) substantially limits one or more of person’s major life activities. Another disability or combination of disabilities may also be a disability if it is determined to cause a comparable degree of substantial functional limitations similar to the foregoing list of disabilities.
For non-investment related opportunities, including RFPs, RFIs, invitations to bid, and other related areas, please visit our Procurement Opportunities page.
Contact the Illinois Treasurer’s Investment Team
MWVD firms should contact MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov to provide an overview of their business capabilities and discuss available investment opportunities. MWVD firms should also download and submit both the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Assessment and Capabilities Questionnaire, which provides the Illinois Treasurer’s Office with a resource to be proactive in identifying business opportunities with MWVD investment firms. Submit completed questionnaires to MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov