Citadel LLC

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Citadel LLC
IndustryHedge fund management
  • Citadel Investment Group, LLC
  • Wellington Financial Group
HeadquartersCitadel Center
Chicago, Illinois, US
Key people
AUMUS$32 billion[1]
Number of employees

Citadel LLC (formerly known as Citadel Investment Group, LLC) is an American global financial institution. Founded in 1990 by Kenneth C. Griffin, the company operates two primary businesses: Citadel, one of the world's largest alternative asset managers with more than US$32 billion in assets under management; and Citadel Securities, one of the leading market makers in the world, whose trading products include equities, equity options, and interest rate swaps for retail and institutional clients.[2][3]

The company has more than 1,400 employees, with headquarters in Chicago, and offices throughout North America, Asia and Europe.[4]

Business segments[edit]


As of January 2016, Citadel manages more than $29 billion in capital and is one of the world's largest asset managers.[1][5] Citadel ranks as the eleventh largest hedge fund manager in the world,[6] and the second largest multi-strategy hedge fund globally.[4] Citadel's group of hedge funds rank among the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world.[7] The hedge fund's assets under management has increased by 29% and more than $10 billion since 2014.[8]

Citadel manages funds across five different investment strategies including equities, commodities, fixed income, quantitative strategies, and credit.[9][10]

In 2014, Citadel became the first foreign hedge fund to complete a yuan fundraising as part of a program to allow Chinese investors to invest in overseas hedge funds.[11]

Citadel Securities[edit]

Citadel Securities was formed in 2002, and is a market maker, providing liquidity and trade execution to retail and institutional clients. Citadel Securities automation has resulted in more reliable trading at lower costs and with tighter spreads.[12] Barron's recently ranked Citadel Securities #1 in providing price improvement for investors in both S&P 500 and non-S&P shares.[11]

Citadel Securities makes markets in more than 7,000 U.S.-listed securities and in about 18,000 OTC securities worldwide.[13] Citadel Securities is the largest market maker in options in the U.S., executing about 25 percent U.S.-listed equity options volume.[14] According to the Wall Street Journal, about one-third of stock orders from individual investors is completed through Citadel, which accounts for about 10% of the firm's revenue.[8]

Citadel Securities also executes about 13 percent of U.S. consolidated volume in equities and 28 percent of U.S. retail equities volume.[15][16]

In 2014, Citadel Securities expanded its market-making offering to interest-rate swaps, one of the most commonly-traded derivatives.[17] According to a report in the March 2015 edition of Risk Magazine, Citadel provides quotes to traders in an average time of 0.35 seconds, compared to 2.05 seconds for the next closest market maker.[18] The move into derivatives trading aligns with mandatory clearing requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act, a provision intended to prevent a future Lehman Brothers-style collapse.[19]

Citadel Technology[edit]

Citadel Technology, established in 2009, is the wholly owned and independently operated affiliate of Citadel.[20][21] It offers investment management technology, developed internally at Citadel, to a wide range of firms and funds.[22]

In 2013, Citadel Technology announced a partnership with REDI. The partnership combines Citadel's order management system (OMS) with REDI's execution management capabilities (EMS).[20]



Ken Griffin launched his trading career out of his dorm room at Harvard University in 1987, with $265,000 raised from friends and family.[23][24] As a sophomore, he traded convertible bonds and hooked a satellite dish to the roof of his dormitory.[24][25] After graduating with a degree in economics, Griffin joined Chicago-based hedge fund Glenwood Partners.[24]

Early history[edit]

According to a New York Times report, Citadel was started with $4.6 million in capital.[26] Citadel was originally named Wellington Financial Group after its flagship fund.[27] The company name was changed to Citadel in 1994.[27] Within eight years, the firm had more than $2 billion in assets.[28]

In 1998, Citadel started requiring investors to accept terms that "restrict[ed] their ability to withdraw their capital", according to Institutional Investor.[28] When fund Long-Term Capital Management collapsed later that year, Citadel's capital lockdown made it "a rare buyer, as desperate hedge funds unloaded bond inventory".[28]

The 2008 financial crisis[edit]

During the 2008 financial crisis, the firm's Kensington and Wellington Funds lost 55 percent of their value by the end of the year.[29] Griffin said, "we were losing hundreds of millions of dollars a week, if not more. CNBC parked a van in front of Citadel, waiting to break the story of our demise."[30]

Citadel suspended shareholder redemptions, which Griffin called one of the "most difficult decisions" in Citadel history.[31] Griffin later conceded that the firm was "overly confident" it could "weather any financial storm". He covered all investor management expenses during that period.[31]

On January 17, 2012, Citadel's flagship funds crossed their respective high water marks, earning back the losses from 2008. Griffin stated, "We did exactly what we said we would do, and we did it the right way. The world changed dramatically in 2008, and we adapted our capabilities and resources to successfully compete in this new environment."[31]

Investment strategy[edit]

Risk management - Citadel's investing approach changed following the 2008 financial crisis. According to Risk Magazine, the foundation of Citadel's success is in large part a result of the risk management ethos.[9] The firm's risk management philosophy is focused on three main areas: risk capital allocation, stress exposure and liquidity management.[32] Citadel's risk management center has 36 monitors displaying more than 50,000 instruments being traded within the firm's portfolios.[32] It is "a real-time view of Citadel's risk exposures across its investments and market making operations globally".[9] The firm runs 500 stress tests each day to simulate the impact of potential economic and geopolitical crises or other market dislocation.[32] Citadel aggregates investment positions on trading screens to calculate "more than 500 doomsday scenarios" to assess the potential of risk for the firm.[8]

In 2014, Citadel rated an A grade for risk management in the annual Institutional Investor Hedge Fund Report Card.[33] In April 2015, Ben S. Bernanke, who was the United States Federal Reserve chairman for eight years, joined Citadel as a senior adviser on global economic and financial issues.[34] In January 2017, Joanna Welsh became the Chief Risk Officer.

Market advocacy[edit]

Citadel has played an active role in market structure issues and has advocated for financial legislation.

In 1999, Congress repealed a provision in the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that strictly separated banking and trading activities by financial firms. Griffin called dismantling that law "one of the biggest fiascos of all time".[35]

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Griffin and Citadel called for greater transparency in derivatives trading, a stance at odds with many other hedge funds and major financial firms. The company spoke out against Wall Street for lobbying to delay the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.[35][36]

Griffin has also called for breaking up "too big to fail" banks and separating their banking and trading activities.[36]

Following the 2014 publication of Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, who claimed financial markets are "rigged" by high-frequency traders at the expense of smaller investors, Griffin became a high-profile defender of today's markets, pushing for the transformation from a dealer-dominated model to one that is more transparent, automated, and competitive. Griffin claimed U.S. equity markets are the "fairest, most transparent, resilient and competitive" in the world before the Senate Banking Committee.[37]


Citadel leads a business plan competition for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, mentoring low income high school students.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ David Snider; Chris Howard (February 16, 2010). Money Makers: Inside the New World of Finance and Business. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 225–. ISBN 978-0-230-61401-7. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  3. ^ "".
  4. ^ a b Hutchins, william (December 8, 2006). "Citadel leads the way in financial self-sufficiency". Financial Times. Retrieved 2006-01-27
  5. ^ Kolhatkar, Sheelah (April 16, 2007). "Opening Up the Citadel". Upstart Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  6. ^ Rose-Smith, Imogen (2006 2006). "Land of the Giants" (PDF). Alpha magazine. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-03-20 (dead link).
  7. ^ Allen, Susie; Huang, Wen (July 15, 2014). "Two new members elected to University of Chicago Board of Trustees". U Chicago News. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Copeland, Rob (August 3, 2015). "Citadel's Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Devasabai, Kris (October 21, 2014). "Citadel prepares for swap market-making role". Risk Magazine. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Michael J. De La Merced (January 10, 2013). "Citadel Posted 25% Return Last Year, Beating Industry Again". DealBook. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Bill Alpert (February 28, 2015). "Exclusive: Who Makes Money on Your Stock Trades". Barron's. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  12. ^ Lynne Marek (October 13, 2012). "Why hedge-fund operator Citadel is becoming a stockbroker". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "CES Retail". Citadel. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  14. ^ Lynne Marek (December 5, 2015). "Citadel wants to shape the rules of the game". Crain's Chicago Business.
  15. ^ Burton, Katherine (April 10, 2014). "Citadel Fund Said to Quadruple With High-Frequency Trades". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Citadel rebounds from 2008 losses making $5bn in profits YTD Citadel debuts underwriting with Advanced Micro debt". Opalesque.
  17. ^ Chiara Albanese (June 6, 2014). "Citadel to Offer Trading in Interest-Rate Swaps". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  18. ^ "Citadel shaking up swaps competition". Risk Magazine. March 10, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  19. ^ "Citadel's Ken Griffin on Amazon, Bloomberg and swap market reform". Risk Magazine. November 2014.
  20. ^ a b Schmerken, Ivy (September 25, 2013). "REDI and Citadel Technology Tackle the "Holy Grail"". InformationWeek. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  21. ^ "Citadel Carves Out Technology Niche". Markets Media. April 20, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  22. ^ "Citadel technology preps end to end solutions suite". Waters Technology. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  23. ^ Strasburg, Jenny; Zuckerman, Gregory (November 7, 2008). "Hedge Fund Selling Puts New Stress on Market". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  24. ^ a b c Delevingne, Lawrence (May 15, 2015). "King Ken: Recovered Citadel chief takes the hedge fund throne". CNBC. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  25. ^ Meyer, Graham (June 8, 2011). "The File on Citadel's Ken Griffin". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  26. ^ Ahmed, Azam; Craig, Suzanne (August 11, 2011). "Citadel Chief Gives Up Dream for Investment Bank". New York Times DealBook. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  27. ^ a b "Overview". Citadel. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  28. ^ a b c Lux, Hal (September 1, 2001). "Boy Wonder". Institutional Investor. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  29. ^ Burton, Katherine (May 17, 2011). "Citadel Said to Ease Withdrawal Rules for Hedge-Fund Clients". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  30. ^ Harris, Melissa (May 22, 2013). "Citadel's Kenneth Griffin exposes 'cronyism,' causes a stir at Economic Club". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  31. ^ a b c Ahmed, Azam (January 20, 2012). "Citadel Clears Its High Water Mark". The New York Times.
  32. ^ a b c Amanda Cantrell (December 10, 2015). "Are You Prepared for the Next Crash?". Institutional Investor's Alpha.
  33. ^ Hurst, Georgina (June 27, 2014). "A Winning Night for Hedge Fund Managers and Investors". Institutional Investor. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  34. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Stevenson, Alexandra (April 16, 2015), "Ben Bernanke Will Work With Citadel, a Hedge Fund, as an Adviser", New York Times, retrieved April 16, 2015
  35. ^ a b "Risk 25 firms of the future: Citadel" (PDF). August 1, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  36. ^ a b Michael Mackenzie; Tom Braithwaite (September 10, 2013). "Derivatives trading safer and more efficient, says Citadel". Financial Times. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  37. ^ Paul Merrion (July 8, 2014). "Ban high-speed trading? 'Absolutely not,' says Citadel's Griffin". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved July 13, 2015.

External links[edit]