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IMRF provides top service at low cost, says global public pensions study

— Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund first in transactions; administration costs one-third below average —

OAK BROOK, Ill. — October 9, 2012 — The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) ranks as a global leader in customer-driven, cost-effective public pension administration, according to a new study of North American public pension funds.

Although IMRF ranked first overall in volume of customer transactions in a recent pension administration benchmarking survey, its total administration cost per member was 32% lower than the average cost. The survey, administered by Cost Effectiveness Measurement (CEM) Benchmarking Inc., compared IMRF to 39 other public pension systems in the U.S. and Canada.

During fiscal year 2011, IMRF completed 40 percent more customer transactions than the peer average, according to the survey. CEM measures key transactions that matter to IMRF customers, such as the production of pension estimates, remittance of refunds, and processing of disability applications.

Despite its greater number of transactions, IMRF’s total administration cost of $78 per member ranked almost one-third below the average cost of $115 per member. IMRF held costs down despite operating in the fifth most expensive environment (the Chicago metropolitan area) among the peer group.

Jan Hartford, director of pension administration benchmarking at CEM, praised IMRF for keeping costs low and service levels high.

“We at CEM consider IMRF to be among a select group globally of pension administrators,” she said. “IMRF consistently demonstrates excellent cost performance given its high volumes in key member transactions and exemplary service.”

IMRF uses the CEM report to identify customer service best practices from other dynamic pension funds, said Executive Director Louis W. Kosiba. Currently, IMRF is implementing enhancements to increase online capabilities and reduce wait time when members contact the call center.

“Our results this year validate the improvements we’ve made, but we need to continue to look for new ways to get better,” Kosiba said. “Our goal is to keep moving in a positive direction, and ultimately, become the global leader in customer-driven, cost-effective public pension administration.”

About IMRF
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) was created by the Illinois General Assembly. Since 1941, IMRF has partnered with local units of government to provide death, disability and retirement benefits for working and retired public employees. Today, IMRF has more than 175,000 active members working for nearly 3,000 different units of government, including school districts, counties, cities and villages, parks and libraries. It has nearly 100,000 retirees. Members who retired in 2011 retired with approximately 22 years of service and received an average annual benefit of approximately $17,000. IMRF consistently works toward reaching full funding over the long term, ensuring that it remains financially sound. A full-funding goal guarantees public workers a secure and modest retirement income at the lowest long-term cost to taxpayers. For more information, visit www.imrf.org.

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IMRF Online provides a brief summary of IMRF benefits and the adminstration of those benefits. IMRF members' and employers' rights and obligations are governed by Article 7 of the Illinois Pension Code. Statements in these publications are general, and the Illinois state law governing IMRF is complex and specific. If a conflict arises between information in these publications and the law, all decisions are based on the law.

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Page Last Updated by JK on 10/11/12