Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund
|Headquarters||Oak Brook, IL|
|Agency executives||Louis W. Kosiba, Executive Director
Natalie Copper, 2014 Board President
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (or IMRF) is a pension fund created in 1939 by the Illinois General Assembly for municipal employees in the U.S. state of Illinois. Since 1941, IMRF has provided employees of local governments and school districts in Illinois (with the exception of the City of Chicago and Cook County, Illinois) with a sound and efficient system for the payment of retirement, disability, and death benefits.
IMRF began operating in 1941 with 5 original employers and $5,000 in assets. At the end of 2013, IMRF had $33 billion in assets and was 96% funded in the aggregate on a market value basis. It administers benefits for about 400,000 members and retirees and almost 3,000 units of local government.
In 2009, IMRF received an Illinois Performance Excellence (ILPEx) Bronze Award for Commitment to Excellence, and in 2012 received an ILPEx Silver Award for Progress Toward Excellence.
To efficiently and impartially develop, implement, and administer in a prudent manner programs that provide income protection to members and their beneficiaries on behalf of participating employers. (Source: (40 ILCS 5/7-102) (from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 7-102))
Plan Structure and Current Administration
Board of Trustees
IMRF is established under statutes adopted by the Illinois General Assembly. It is governed by a fully elected board of eight trustees. Four trustees are elected by employers, three are elected by participating members, and one annuitant trustee is elected by IMRF retirees. The Board appoints an Executive Director who is responsible for all administrative functions and supervision of staff employees.
IMRF is a defined benefit retirement plan that provides retirement, survivor, disability, and death benefits to municipal government employees in Illinois. It is governed by Article 7 of the Illinois Pension Code. Eligible employees are automatically enrolled in IMRF when employment begins. Members participate in various plans depending on eligibility:
- Regular IMRF Tier 1 Plan
- Regular IMRF Tier 2 Plan (created on 1/1/2011)
- Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Personnel Tier 1 Plan (created on 7/1/1973)
- Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Personnel Tier 2 Plan (created on 1/1/2011)
- Original Elected County Official Plan (created 6/27/1997, revised and closed to new members 1/26/2000)
- Revised Elected County Official Plan (created 1/26/2000, closed to new members 8/8/2011)
- Revised Elected County Official Tier 2 Plan (created 1/1/2011, closed to new members 8/8/2011)
Each plan provides different contribution and benefit structures for participants
How IMRF was founded
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund was created through legislation enacted by the 61st General Assembly of the State of Illinois, effective July 29, 1939. The first meeting of the IMRF board was held on September 8, 1939, in the office of the Municipal Public Utility annuity and benefit fund at 135 S. LaSalle St. in Chicago.
Five original employers enroll
On January 1, 1941, the five original employers, City of Evanston, City of Galesburg, Village of Riverside, Rockford Park District and City of Rockford, entered IMRF. The first benefit awards were approved at the March 1941 board meeting. At that same meeting, the board approved IMRF’s first investment, a $5,000 U.S. Treasury Bond at 2½ percent due on March 15 of 1952 or 1954, with the assumption that 1952 was an option year.
Additional groups covered
In 1947 the Illinois legislature required the IMRF staff to participate as members of the system. Later in that same year, the Illinois legislature mandated participation by all Illinois school districts (except those located in the city of Chicago) and all their employees except those covered by the Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois. Coverage of schools increased the number of employers in IMRF from 156 to 652 and the number of members from 11,171 to 17,119.
Effective January 1, 1951, all cities, villages, and incorporated towns with populations of 10,000 or more and all counties (except Cook County) and sanitary districts (except Metropolitan Chicago Sanitary District) were mandated by legislation into IMRF.
In 1955 an Illinois Supreme Court decision ruled that IMRF statutes provided an option for municipalities to enter, but none to exit.
Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act
In 1955, IMRF was included in the Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act, a provision of the statutes which allows total service with any of several public pension systems in Illinois to be considered when determining an annuity.