Ken Griffin is the chief executive of Citadel, a hedge fund with $52 billion in assets under management. The Miami-based company has five core strategies in fixed income and macro, quantitative strategies, commodities, equities and credit. He also founded Citadel Securities, a global market-making business.
The bulk of Griffin’s fortune is derived from the money he’s made managing Citadel Advisors, the hedge fund firm he founded in 1990. It had about $52 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2022, according to the firm’s 2023 form ADV filing.
Griffin probably has about $9 billion in personal assets in Citadel funds. This is based on a 2022 Form ADV filing, ratings reports, his estimate of earnings in prior years, and discussions with a person familiar who didn’t wish to be identified because the information is private.
His ownership of Citadel’s hedge fund business is estimated at 85% based on ADV filings and ratings reports. It’s valued using the enterprise value-to-EBIT and enterprise value-to-sales multiples of publicly traded peers, based on financials included in an October 2022 Moody’s credit opinion. A 10% liquidity discount is applied.
Griffin is credited with 80% of Citadel Securities, his market-making firm. A June 2019 S&P Global Ratings report stated that he held an overwhelming majority of the company. It’s valued using the $22 billion valuation agreed to as part of a $1.15 billion investment from Sequoia Capital and Paradigm in January 2022. The figure was adjusted by 7.1% to account for its 2022 revenue growth. A 10% liquidity discount is applied.
Griffin’s personal real estate includes trophy properties in Chicago, New York, The Hamptons, Palm Beach, Miami, Hawaii, Colorado and London. They’re valued at their purchase prices as reported in Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal.
Griffin has liabilities of about $2 billion including mortgages, according to discussions with a person familiar with his financial situation who did not wish to be identified because the information is private.
A spokesperson for Griffin said the billionaire declined to comment on his net worth in March 2023.
Education: Harvard College
Kenneth Cordele Griffin was born and raised in Florida, according to a 2011 profile of him in Chicago Magazine. He attended Harvard University where he majored in economics, graduating in 1989 after three years.
With a computer, fax machine and telephone, he began trading convertible bonds in 1987 out of his dorm room with $265,000 he raised from his mother, grandmother and two non-family investors, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine. He persuaded his dorm’s janitor to let him place a satellite dish on the rooftop to get access to real-time information.
After Harvard, Griffin moved to Chicago to work for Glenwood Capital founder Frank Meyer. He opened his hedge fund — its original name was Wellington — with $4.6 million the next year. He changed the firm’s name to Citadel, and over the next decade and a half, the company delivered an annualized return of more than 25 percent.
The billionaire personally stopped trading by 2005, telling Bloomberg Markets magazine that his staff was better at it than he was. The funds lost $9 billion in the 2008 financial crisis, a period during which he told Bloomberg News he gained 20 pounds. Citadel’s funds recovered all of their losses by January 2012, according to Citadel’s website.
Griffin is an active art collector, paying $60.5 million for Paul Cezanne’s “Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl” in 1999, then a record price for an Impressionist painting. He bought Jasper Johns’s “False Start” painting for $80 million in 2006 from music mogul David Geffen. In 2020, he paid more than $100 million for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump.”
Griffin has given nearly $2 billion to a number of non-profit organizations including the University of Chicago, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital and the American Museum of Natural History. The total includes $500 million he’s given to Harvard University, which renamed its Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his support in April 2023.
In January 2022, Griffin’s market-making firm, Citadel Securities, announced an investment from Sequoia Capital and Paradigm that valued it at $22 billion.
In June 2022 Citadel and Citadel Securities announced that they were shifting their headquarters to Miami from Chicago.
- 1987 Begins investing with $265,000 in capital out of Harvard dorm room.
- 1989 Graduates from Harvard University with a degree in economics.
- 1990 Hedge fund officially formed. Original name is Wellington Financial Group.
- 1994 Changes hedge fund name to Citadel.
- 1998 Citadel reaches $1 billion in investment capital.
- 2008 Citadel loses $9 billion amid bear market.
- 2012 Citadel funds recover their bear market losses by January of this year.
- 2014 Files for divorce from wife Anne Dias-Griffin.
- 2022 Citadel shifts its headquarters from Chicago to Miami.
- 2022 Citadel brings in record $16 billion profit for clients.