The Judges’ Retirement System of Illinois (JRS) is a defined benefit plan, which means that current and future retirement benefits are based on a retirement formula provided by State statute. Therefore, JRS benefits will not be delayed, reduced or eliminated based on the current underperformance of the financial markets, or for any other reason. Further, Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution provides additional constitutional protection, specifying that JRS benefits may not be “diminished or impaired.” This constitutional protection applies regardless of the condition of the financial markets or State budget.
The JRS investment portfolio, which is managed by the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI), is highly diversified and allocated among many different types of investments in order to maximize returns and minimize risk in all types of market conditions. Like other institutional investors, JRS’ investment portfolio has declined in value in recent months due to volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets. Our long-term investment performance has been solid and this is expected to continue in the future through all types of market conditions. Through September 30, 2008, the 10 year return was 5.70% percent annually, while the 20 year and 30 year return numbers were 8.39% and 9.06% annually, respectively.