Work to Date
Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers serves as the City’s banker, investor and advocate. He is committed to enhancing investments in each of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods, generating funding through innovation and establishing a transparent and collaborative system for reporting the City’s finances.
December 2014 – September 2015
77 in 77 and 90-Day Impact Report
Upon his appointment, Treasurer Summers launched a 90-Day Action Plan and listening tour to visit each of Chicago’s 77 communities in 77 days. On his 90th day after taking office, the Treasurer released an “Impact Report” on the progress made since taking the oath on Dec. 1, 2014. Made of up 16 initiatives that continue to guide the work of the Treasurer’s Office, the ideas and findings in the Impact Report were driven by the voices of more than a thousand individuals the Treasurer met during those 77 visits and by initiatives outlined in the 90-Day Plan.
Thought Leader Engagement
From the Treasurer’s 77 visits to each of Chicago’s neighborhoods, the Treasurer’s Office worked with each community to develop Think Tanks who join the Treasurer for monthly conference calls, quarterly meetings, and daily interactions of office staff. Five monthly conference calls have taken place. A quarterly, in-person meeting took place on July 22.
Pension Fee Savings Plan
Launched in February, the pension fee savings initiative will create significant savings on the annual investment fees for all of Chicago’s 11 public employee pension funds. By promoting collaboration among local retirement plans to secure lower investment fees, the initiative has the potential to save more than $1 billion over the lifetime of all 11 pension plans. As of this month, seven plans have approved the Treasurer’s proposal to establish a clearinghouse that will allow plans to share information regarding the amount of management fees paid to investment managers and work together to seek remedies to reduce those fees. The Treasurer’s Office is now working to launch the clearinghouse by the beginning of 2016.
The Treasurer’s Office is leading the city’s first-ever comprehensive financial education plan. With full implementation expected by the fall, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Ariel Community Academy for the initiative’s launch, calling Chicago a “model city” for financial education. Also, the Treasurer’s Office more than doubled the number of bank partners for the City’s One Summer Chicago jobs program to ensure more youth employed have access to safe and responsible banking.
Quarterly Earnings Calls
Treasurer Summers has launched Chicago’s first-ever Quarterly Earnings Call and webcast. The first of its kind in the nation, the call provided overviews of the global and national economies as well as Chicago’s current fiscal landscape. On a quarterly basis, this new call will serve as a way to ensure transparency and accountability in regards to the financial performance of Chicago’s investment portfolio. More than 500 participants from across Chicago and the nation dialed-in to the first calls, held in May and August.
Treasurer Summers is leading a new effort that would require all banks who work with the City, also known as Municipal Depositories, to provide the City with further reporting including their own lending practices to and support for local small businesses, non-profits and entrepreneurs. By gathering this information, the Treasurer’s Office and the public can identify if and how frequently their local banks are investing back into their communities.
Building on the success of a successful partnership with the Chicago Park District, the Treasurer’s Office has launched the CTO Advantage Program to provide financial management services to City sister agencies with a goal of boosting the return on investment for their bond portfolios. At the June City Council meeting, Mayor Emanuel introduced an intergovernmental agreement to implement the same partnership with the Treasurer’s Office and the Public Building Commission. Under the agreement, the CTO’s portfolio managers will oversee $38 million in bonds of the PBC’s portfolio. The CTO Advantage program has produced more than $450,000 for the Park District to invest back in its programs.
Investment Policy Modernization
Consistent with the regular practice of recent years, the Treasurer’s Office recently evaluated the current investment policy relative to market conditions, best practices, asset protection and investment quality. The Treasurer has proposed changes to the policy that are designed to ensure that the City is investing its assets in the best securities possible to maximize returns while effectively mitigating risk and maintaining required levels of liquidity. Changes to the policy could have a potential impact of $10.1 million in 2016.
Mayor Emanuel recently appointed Treasurer Summers as Chair of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust. The CIT’s mission is to invest in infrastructure projects that benefit Chicago’s residents and grow the economy while protecting taxpayers. New leadership at the CIT is focused on identifying and executing new projects that benefit all Chicagoans, including the Smart Lighting Project. This first undertaking by the new board will transition the City’s and Parks’ lighting to LED technology and to replace outdated infrastructure to achieve efficiencies, cost savings, and improved performance.
In May, the Treasurer joined the fight to give shareholders of our nation’s corporations a greater voice in their corporate governance. Known as “proxy access,” McDonald’s voted favorably on the proposal, which is ultimately a good thing for our workers, for Chicago, and for cities all across the country.