Top officials from Chicago's futures industry gathered a week ago in the marbled lobby of the historic Rookery Building on LaSalle Street. They were there for one reason - to get Illinois Treasurer Patrick Quinn to blaze a path for managed futures in the state's multibillion-dollar pension funds.

"If the Illinois funds as a group came into managed futures, it would send a signal to the rest of the country that it's not a bad thing. It makes sense," said Robert Kelley Jr., a vice president at M.C. Baldwin Financial Co., the Chicago-based commodity pool operator that sponsored the Rookery reception.

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