Kenneth C. Griffin
|Kenneth C. Griffin|
Ken Griffin at the Delivering Alpha conference held by CNBC, July 2014
October 15, 1968 |
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Residence||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Occupation||Founder & CEO, Citadel|
|Salary||$1.1 billion (2014)|
|Net worth||$6.5 billion (Mar. 2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Dias-Griffin (m. 2004)|
Kenneth C. Griffin (born October 15, 1968, Daytona Beach, Florida) is an American hedge fund manager. Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, a global investment firm. With an estimated $25 billion in investment capital as of March 2015, Citadel is one of the world's largest alternative investment management firms. Citadel's group of hedge funds rank among the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world. Forbes identified Griffin as one of 2012’s highest earning hedge fund managers as well as one of the Forbes 400.
Griffin had an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion in October 2014. At the beginning of 2014, Griffin made a $150 million donation to the financial aid program at Harvard University, his alma mater. The donation was the largest single donation ever made to the institution at the time.
Early life and education
Kenneth C. Griffin was born in 1968 in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1986, Griffin started to invest during his freshman year at Harvard University after reading a Forbes magazine article. During his second year at Harvard, he started a hedge fund focused on convertible bond arbitrage. The fund was capitalized with $265,000 from friends and family, including money from his grandmother. He installed a satellite link to his dorm to acquire real-time market data. The investment strategy helped preserve capital during the stock market crash of 1987. Griffin's early success enabled him to launch a second fund, and between the two funds he was managing just over $1 million. Griffin graduated from Harvard in 1989 with a degree in economics.
After graduating from Harvard, Frank C. Meyer, an investor and founder of Glenwood Capital LLC, provided Griffin with $1 million to invest. Griffin exceeded Meyer's expectations and, according to The New York Times, Meyer made 70 percent return on the investment.
After nearly twenty years in the industry, Griffin has appeared numerous times in Forbes' Forbes 400 as CEO of Citadel. His first appearance on the Forbes 400 was in 2003, with an estimated net worth of $650 million. At 34, he was the youngest self-made individual on the list. In September 2004, Fortune magazine ranked Griffin, who was 35 that year, as the eighth richest American under forty in the category of self-made, United States-based wealth. In 2006, Griffin was the fifth youngest of the seven members under the age of 40 listed on the Forbes 400. In 2007, Griffin was had an estimated net worth of $3 billion. By 2014, Griffin’s net worth was estimated at $5.5 billion.
In March 2015, Citadel received a Top 10 Great Workplaces in Financial Services ranking by the Great Places to Work Institute, which was based on a survey taken by Citadel employees. Griffin was credited for implementing a collaborative work culture and providing perks to employees including free lunch, museum tours, fitness programs and personal gifts.
Views on market structure
Griffin has voiced his stance on issues on financial regulations and market structure throughout his years as a business executive and has testified at various government hearings. Griffin provided testimony at a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on "The Role of Regulation in Shaping Equity Market Structure and Electronic Trading", in which he reiterated the need to have industry regulations catch up with the changes in market structure to increase the fairness and resilience of American Equity markets.
Griffin, along with NASDAQ Executive Vice President Thomas A. Whittman and Jeff Sprecher, founder and CEO of International Exchange of the NYSE, has voiced concerns about regulation failing to keep pace with changes in market structure. An example of this is the permitted practice of dark pools discriminating against certain customer segments.
In May 2008, he criticized the risk management practices of Wall Street saying: "As an industry, we have a responsibility to manage risk in a way that is prudent...The capital markets are controlled by a bunch of right-out-of business school young guys who haven't really seen that much. You have a real lack of wisdom." Griffin has also stated: "We, as an industry, dropped the ball. The industry needs to overhaul its thinking, accept greater regulation." He explained his views on regulation and risk in a 2008 New York Times article where he was quoted as saying "The unwillingness of the Federal Reserve and the S.E.C. to require working capital limits only exacerbates the risk-taking environment because the banks are playing the equivalent of no-limit poker." Later in 2008, he testified to the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, stating that "The rapid growth in the use of derivatives has created an opaque market whose outstanding notional value is measured in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. As a result, there is great concern about the systemic effects of the failure of any one financial institution."
In 2014, Griffin was elected to a five year term on the University of Chicago's Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is also a member of a number of organizations including the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Griffin serves as the vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund.
Griffin has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to support various causes, including tens of millions to institutions in Chicago.
Griffin and his wife founded the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation in October 2009. The foundation's contributions include $10 million for the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center and $16 million to Children's Memorial Hospital, and funding the University of Chicago’s Early Childhood Center, and others.
The Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center, located in Chicago Heights, is an experimental educational effort run by Dr. John A. List, a University of Chicago economics professor, designed to test whether investing in teachers, or alternatively, in parents, produces better student performance in school.
Through the Citadel Group Foundation (CGF), Griffin has contributed to the Art Institute of Chicago, public education, the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Griffin has made contributions to the Robin Hood Foundation. He also has contributed to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the "Evolving Planet" at the Field Museum of Natural History and endowed professorships at the University of Chicago.
In February 2014, Griffin gave $150 million to his alma mater, Harvard University largely for need-based undergraduate financial aid. At the time, it was the largest single gift in Harvard's history.
Griffin has devoted some of his time to the collection and patronage of art. He reportedly paid a record price of $60 million for Paul Cézanne's painting Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl in 1999. In October 2006, Griffin purchased False Start by artist Jasper Johns for $80 million from Dreamworks co-founder David Geffen. Griffin donated a $19 million addition to the Art Institute of Chicago that was designed by Renzo Piano. The Paul Cézanne paintings have also been loaned to the Institute.
In 2012, Griffin said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that he was a Reagan Republican. He said that "This belief that a larger government is what creates prosperity, that a larger government is what creates good: is wrong." After the 2007-08 financial crisis, Griffin made political contributions and donations to political candidates, parties, and organizations that supported his views of limited government such as American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, and Restore Our Future a Super PAC that supported Mitt Romney's presidential bid.
Griffin married Anne Dias-Griffin, the founder of Aragon Global Management, another Chicago-based hedge fund firm, in July 2004. They have three children. In July 2014, Griffin filed for divorce from his wife in Cook County Circuit Court stating “irreconcilable differences.”
Griffin is a member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. In 2011, Griffin donated $11 million of the $38.2 million needed to build a new chapel at the church. The modern building is called "The Gratz Center" in honor of Griffin's grandparents.
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- The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
- Kenneth C. Griffin Latest Portfolio
- Chicago Business profile
- Extensive Bloomberg article on Griffin and Citadel
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