Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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Diversity is Good for Business

“Using diverse investment firms is not only about creating growth and opportunity in our communities, but it’s integral to increasing our investment returns.”

-Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs

The Illinois Treasurer’s Office believes that our government should mirror the diversity in our state. And beyond that, diversity is good for business. Research demonstrates that diverse-owned companies are often well-situated to ascertain capital inefficiencies in the market, and as such, many are primed to outperform their peers. That’s why we’re focused on providing more opportunities to qualified Minority, Women, Veteran, and Disabled-owned (MWVD) financial firms and to firms with a record of equity, diversity, and inclusion within their firms.



  • MWVD Broker/Dealers – Since 2015, the Illinois Treasurer's Office increased utilization of diverse broker/dealers from 1% to 88%.  In FY 2014, total assets brokered with MWVD firms was $603 million.  In FY 2019, total assets brokered with MWVD firms was $45 billion.  That’s 75 times more utilization.  Track these results on The Vault.
    • Broker/Dealers firms include but are not limited to: Cabrera Capital Markets, Loop Capital Markets, Great Pacific Securities, Drexel Hamilton, MFR Securities, and Mischler Financial Group amongst others.

Assets Brokered by MWVD Firms

  • MWVD Asset Managers – The Treasurer's Office has increased assets managed by MWVD firms from $18 million in December 2014 to $3.9 billion as of June 2020.  That’s a 216-fold increase. This includes MWVD-owned or operated asset management firms and mutual fund sub-advisory relationships. Track these results on The Vault.
    • Asset Management firms include but are not limited to: Ariel Investments, Garcia Hamilton & Associates, Ramirez Asset Management, Sit Investments, Brightwood Capital Advisors, Palladium Equity, and Valor Equity amongst others.

Assets Managed by MWVD Firms 2019

  • Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (ILGIF) – To date, of the $377 million committed to venture capital firms, $154.5 million has been committed to MWVD venture firms. That represents over 40% of committed capital. This has enabled more than 85 diverse-owned portfolio companies to receive funding support. Further, we are actively seeding and anchoring new minority venture capital funds in order to help grow the number of minority GPs investing in Illinois.
    • Venture capital firms include but are not limited to: Moderne Ventures, Brightwood Capital, Agent Capital, Chingona Ventures, Vamos Ventures, First Leaf Capital, Impact Engine, Vistria Group, amongst others.
  • Access to Capital Invest in Illinois is a collection of programs offered by the Treasurer’s Office – (1) Ag Invest, (2) Business Invest, and (3) Community Invest – that provide impact investment deposits to lending institutions to provide consumer loans, assist with farm-related expenses, finance business expansion and fund other important economic and community development activities.
    • By providing access to State investment capital at a lower rate, Invest in Illinois incentivizes financial institutions to lend to minority groups marginalized by limited loans or high-interest rates at a lower cost to borrowers.
  • Corporate Board Diversity –
    • As the leader of the Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative, we have engaged 54 companies, 40 of which added diverse board members and 32 adopted a diverse search policy since MIDI launched in 2016.
    • As a leader of the Thirty Percent Coalition, the Illinois Treasurer’s Office and fellow investors have successfully engaged 300 companies that have now appointed a woman to their boards.
  • Shareholder Proposals – The Illinois Treasurer’s Office has introduced shareholder proposals at seven (7) companies, asking that senior company leaders address board diversity shortfalls and formally adopt a policy to enhance diversity among board directors. 
    • All seven (7) companies either appointed a woman or minority board member or successfully adopted the requested policy.
  • Shareholder Proxy Votes – The Illinois Treasurer’s Office exercises its proxy voting rights to support proposals on increasing board diversity, gender pay gap reporting, and the inclusion of diversity as a performance metric for CEO pay. 
    • In 2019, the Illinois Treasurer’s Office voted against 323 directors due to a lack of gender diversity on the board.  See our proxy voting dashboard.
  • Mutual Fund Board Diversity – The Illinois Treasurer's Office surveys its mutual fund providers to assess levels of diversity among mutual fund board members. 
  • Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) – The Illinois Treasurer’s Office is an active member of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, which seeks to increase the representation of Latinos and African-Americans, at all levels, within the Chicago area financial services industry by focusing on the talent pipeline, recruitment/hiring, and development/retention.
    • In an effort to increase the representation of African Americans and Latinos within the financial services sector, the 7th Annual 2020 FSP Intern Career Conference brought together more than 250 interns and students from 14 member firms and 8 non-profit partners across Illinois.
  • Advancing Equity in Banking Commission (AEBC) – Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs and Chicago City Treasurer Mellissa Conyears-Earvin convened a number of financial institution CEOs across the State of Illinois to discuss and subsequently join the AEB Commission to design and implement a number of solutions to address the systemic and structural racism within the banking industry.
    • The first convening occurred on June 19, 2020, with CEOs and senior executives from Chicago’s leading financial institutions.    


Economic Impact
  • MWVD Broker/Dealers – As a result of increased utilization by the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, MWVD Broker/Dealers are estimated to have attained over $3.6 million for services rendered over the course of FY 2015 to FY 2019. The Treasurer’s Office increased its economic impact on MWVD Broker/Dealers by four times (4x) from 2015 to 2019.

  • MWVD Asset Managers – As a result of increased utilization by the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, MWVD asset managers are estimated to have attained over $6.8 million for services rendered over the course of CY 2015 to CY 2019. The Illinois Treasurer’s Office increased its economic impact on MWVD asset managers by sixteen times (16x) from 2015 to 2019.

Policies & Processes
  • Garcia Rule:  Mandatory inclusion of MWVD Firms in Investment Manager Searches – Require that for every search for an external investment manager, our investment consultants must include at least one diverse-owned manager.
  • Preference for MWVD Investment Firms – Policies and procedures establish uniform operating processes across investment divisions for the allowance of preference to qualified MWVD-owned broker/dealers, asset managers, and other service providers.
  • Preference for MWVD Service Providers – All RFPs now provide additional points in the scoring process to all MWVD service providers.
  • 360-Degree Review of Business Partners  All financial and investment firms seeking to do business with the Illinois Treasurer’s Office must disclose how their firm promotes equity, diversity and inclusion. This includes a 360-degree evaluation, conducted annually through the office's “Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Assessment”, of diversity among its board or owners, executive leadership, workforce, supplier network, and community activities.
  • Corporate and Mutual Fund Board Diversity – The Illinois Treasurer’s Office advocates for racial and gender diversity on corporate and mutual fund boards, which is a critical dimension of effective board performance, through a number of mediums.  
  • Enforcing Community Investment Standards – The Illinois Treasurer’s Office reviews a banking institution’s record of commitment to its community when deciding whether to do business with that financial firm.  Banking institutions with a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating below “satisfactory” are now ineligible to do business with the Office.
  • MWVD Business Liaison – Staff are specifically deployed to assist MWVD investment and financial firms in doing business with the Illinois Treasurer’s Office. Contact MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov


Investment Services Sought

The Illinois Treasurer’s Office seeks a wide variety of financial services and products from MWVD firms, including, but not limited to:

Broker/Dealer Services

U.S. Treasuries Supranational Bonds
U.S. Agencies Commercial Paper
Foreign Bonds  Municipal Bonds
Corporate Bonds/Notes  Repurchase Agreements






Investment Management Services

Fixed Income Cash & Cash Equivalents
Public Equities Real Estate
Private Equity Venture Capital
Securities Lending Private Debt






Banking Services

Custody and Safekeeping Depository Services
ACH Transactions Lockbox Services
Cash and Check Processing Credit and Debit Card Processing





Other Investment Services

Investment Consulting Linked/Time Deposits
Bond Arbitrage Third-Party Research
Treasury Consulting -






MWVD Preference

As set forth in Section 30 of the State Treasurer Act, 15 ILCS 505/30, it is an aspirational goal of the Illinois State Treasurer to use businesses owned by or under the control of qualified veterans of the armed forces of the United States, qualified service-disabled veterans, minority persons, women, or persons with a disability (“MWVD Persons”) for not less than 25% of the total dollar amount of funds under management, purchases of investment securities, and other contracts. Preference is accorded to qualified businesses that demonstrate or attest that (1) greater than 50% of the ownership interest of the firm is held by MWVD Persons, OR (2) greater than 75% of the firm’s senior managers are MWVD Persons.


As used herein, the following definitions apply:  (i) “minority person” means a person who is any of the following: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; (ii) “woman” means a person who is of the female gender; (iii) “veteran” means a person who (1) has been a member of the armed forces of the United States or, while a citizen of the United States, was a member of the armed forces of allies of the United States in time of hostilities with a foreign country and (2) served under one or more of the following conditions: (a) served a total of at least six months, (b) served for the duration of hostilities regardless of the length of the engagement; (c) was discharged on the basis of hardship; or (d) was released from active duty because of a service connected disability and was discharged under honorable conditions; (iv) “person with a disability” means a person with a severe physical or mental disability that: (1) results from: amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, an intellectual disability, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, including stroke and epilepsy, paraplegia, quadriplegia and other spinal cord conditions, sickle cell anemia, ulcerative colitis, specific learning disabilities, or end stage renal failure disease; and (2) substantially limits one or more of person’s major life activities. Another disability or combination of disabilities may also be a disability if it is determined to cause a comparable degree of substantial functional limitations similar to the foregoing list of disabilities.


Procurement Opportunities

For non-investment related opportunities, including RFPs, RFIs, invitations to bid, and other related areas, please visit our Procurement Opportunities page.


Contact the Treasurer’s Investment Team

MWVD firms should contact MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov to provide an overview of their business capabilities and discuss available investment opportunities. MWVD firms should also download and submit both the Diversity Profile Form and Capabilities Questionnaire, which provides the Illinois Treasurer’s Office with a resource to be proactive in identifying business opportunities with MWVD investment firms.  Submit completed questionnaires to MWVD@illinoistreasurer.gov