Treasurer Frerichs is the state’s Chief Investment Officer and Chief Banking Officer. He oversees an investment portfolio totalling approximately $31 billion (as of January 2020). These investments are spread over a variety of important programs, including, but not limited to:
State Investments – As the state’s top banker, the Treasurer is charged with providing treasury, cash management, and investment support to Illinois government agencies, boards and commissions in a manner that provides the most advantageous solution to their individual needs. The Treasurer’s Office manages State Investments, with assets of approximately $12-$15 billion, providing the necessary liquidity to meet the State’s daily obligations while investing remaining funds in authorized short/long-term investment opportunities.
College Savings Plans – The Treasurer’s Office administers two Illinois 529 College Savings Plans: Bright Start and Bright Directions. These programs together represent approximately $12 billion in investments. Both investment portfolios are designed as “qualified tuition programs” under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Under the Illinois 529 College Savings Plans, investments grow tax-free as long as withdrawals are used to pay for higher education expenses (e.g., tuition, fees, books, room and board).
The Illinois Funds – The Illinois General Assembly created the first local government investment pool in 1975 so communities statewide could invest their money together to earn greater returns. Today, the pool is called The Illinois Funds, and its holds approximately $4-6 billion in assets. The Illinois Funds' is designed to ensure the safety of principal, provide liquidity to pay obligations, and provide the highest investment return using authorized investment instruments. With the additional funds earned for communities, it provides more support, services, and stability for local families.
Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund – The Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (ILGIF) is an impact investment fund that invests in ways that attract, assist and retain quality technology businesses in Illinois. In August 2018, Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced an increase to the amount of investment capital available in ILGIF, increasing the total to over $700 million in investment capital from the State's existing investment portfolio to be invested with Illinois venture capital, growth equity and private debt investment firms, with a goal of investing in technology businesses seeking to locate, expand or remain in Illinois.
Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program – Secure Choice is a retirement savings tool for workers in Illinois that do not have access to a workplace retirement savings option. An estimated 1.2 million workers will gain access to employer-based retirement savings plans through Secure Choice.
ABLE Savings Program – The Illinois Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program is a federally tax-advantaged savings program that enables Illinois families and individuals to save for disability-related expenses. ABLE is similar to 529 College Savings programs, in that families are allowed to set aside money for future qualified expenses, invest these funds in professionally designed savings accounts, and avoid some tax penalties on the fund.
The Treasurer’s Office is responsible for the creation, revision, implementation, and publication of various investment policies, each relevant to a particular investment program under the purview of the Treasurer. These policies reflect statutory requirements as well as the policy and programmatic objectives of the Treasurer’s Office. As such, they provide an appropriate set of guidelines and procedures for the operation of state investment programs with regard to investment objectives, investment parameters, administrative responsibilities, contractual needs, and reporting requirements.