Chicago Treasurer: Investment Firms Overcharging Chicago Pensions By $50 Million


Chicago’s new Treasurer, Kurt Summers, said last week that he believes investment firms are overcharging the city’s pension funds to the tune of $50 million annually.

Summers says firms are levying higher fees on the city’s smaller pension funds than on the larger funds, for the same work.

From DNA Info:

Since taking office in December, Summers claims he’s discovered that investment managers are wringing upwards of $50 million a year in extra fees out of the city and Cook County’s 10 employee pension funds by charging substantially higher fees to the smaller pension funds for the exact same investments.

“I don’t begrudge any firm from making as much money as it can, that’s what they’re in the business to do,” Summers said in an interview last week. “It’s our fault for operating in silos and not looking at this sooner.”

Summers said when he came into office he found that just 23 firms are raking in half of the $142 million in fees the pension funds pay out to manage $35 billion in funds.

“Let’s go have 23 conversations,” Summers said. “Let’s start with the firms who have gotten plenty of their fair share.”


Summers plan is to aggregate pricing, similar to New York City’s system, and convince investment managers to offer the lowest fee to all the pension funds, not just the largest ones.

He said he’s already spoken with four firms and gotten a commitment from one to lower fees by a third.

Summers has previously advocated using pension money to make direct investments within Chicago.


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