NCPERS Names Illinois State Treasurer Policymaker of the Year
By: Lizzy Lees, Director of Communications, NCPERS
NCPERS presented The Honorable Michael Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer, with its 2023 Policymaker of the Year Award on January 23 during its Legislative Conference. Read the recap here for more event highlights.
The award, presented annually at NCPERS Legislative Conference, recognizes the efforts of a policymaker who has had a positive impact on public pensions or whose efforts have contributed to improvements in retirement security more broadly.
“The Honorable Michael Frerichs is proof of the profound impact that policymakers can have on retirement security. NCPERS believes that all Americans deserve to retire with dignity, and we are pleased to recognize him as our 2023 Policymaker of the Year for his efforts in both the private and public sector,” said NCPERS Executive Director and Counsel, Hank Kim.
Frerichs—currently serving his third term as State Treasurer—launched Illinois Secure Choice in 2018 to serve the estimated 1.2 million private-sector workers in Illinois without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The state-run retirement program completed its final wave of implementation in 2023. The program has already made a significant impact on the retirement security of Illinoisans, with over 140,000 workers collectively saving more than $145 million so far.
Frerichs has also served on the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI) since 2015. The ISBI has fiduciary responsibility for managing the pension assets of the State Employees' Retirement System of Illinois, the General Assembly Retirement System, the Illinois Power Agency, the Judges' Retirement System of Illinois, and the State of Illinois Deferred Compensation Plan. In this capacity, Frerichs directly supports the retirement security of more than 250,000 public sector beneficiaries.
“I am honored to be recognized by NCPERS especially now, as more states have realized the importance of improving retirement savings access,” Frerichs said. “We have a looming retirement savings crisis in our country, and we know workers are much more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through payroll deductions, for instance through programs like Illinois Secure Choice. We foster a spirit of collaboration with other states to help workers across the country save for retirement.”