Kenneth Griffin is an American billionaire hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, as well as the founder and CEO of Citadel Securities – a global financial services firm that provides market-making, liquidity, and trading solutions. He is also the founder and CEO of Citadel LLC, a hedge fund that manages over $39 billion in assets.
Born in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1968, Griffin’s father was an executive in the building supplies industry and also worked as a project manager for General Electric. His grandmother, Genevieve Huebsch Gratz, inherited several businesses, including an oil company, three farms, and a seed business. Griffin grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, spending time in Texas and Wisconsin as well.
He attended Boca Raton Community High School, where he was the president of the math club and ran a mail-order education software firm called EDCOM out of his bedroom. Despite thinking he would become a businessman or lawyer and predicting a significant decrease in the job market for computer programmers in a 1986 article, he went on to attend Harvard College in the fall of 1986.
During his time at Harvard, Griffin made his first investments, including purchasing put options on Home Shopping Network and investing in convertible bonds. He convinced the school administrators to allow him to install a satellite dish on the roof of his dormitory to receive stock quotes, despite a ban on running businesses from campus.
He also opened a brokerage account with $100,000 from his grandmother and others with the help of a manager at Merrill Lynch. His first fund launched in 1987, just days after his 19th birthday, and was profitable due to short positions on Black Monday. Griffin graduated with a degree in economics in 1989.
After graduating in 1989, Griffin headed to Chicago and began working with Frank Meyer, the founder of Glenwood Capital Investments. Meyer gave Griffin $1 million to trade with, and in one year, Griffin made a 70% return on investment. The following year, in 1990, Griffin founded Citadel LLC with assets under management of $4.6 million, including contributions from Meyer. Griffin’s funds performed exceptionally well, with returns of 43% in 1991 and 40% in 1992. In the early 2000s, Griffin established Citadel Securities as a market maker.
By 2003, at the age of 34, Griffin was the youngest person on the Forbes 400 list, with a net worth of around $650 million. Griffin was also the primary investor in Aragon Global Management, a hedge fund run by his then-wife Anne Dias-Griffin, from their marriage in 2003 until late 2009. The fund was also seeded with money from Julian Robertson, but Griffin lost 20% of his investment in the fund. In 2006, Citadel acquired the positions of Amaranth Advisors at a discounted price.
Over the years, Griffin grew Citadel into one of the world’s largest hedge funds, with investments in a wide range of assets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate. In addition to his work with Citadel, he founded Citadel Securities in 2002, which has since grown into one of the world’s leading market makers and trading firms.
Griffin is widely regarded as one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world, with a net worth of over $25 billion as of September 2021, according to Forbes.
In 2015, Griffin spent his own money to bring in popular musicians Katy Perry and Maroon 5 to perform for his employees, according to reports.
By November 2020, the value of Citadel had risen to such an extent that Griffin’s net worth surpassed $20 billion, with his stake in the company alone being valued at $11.2 billion, according to Bloomberg News. During the first half of 2020, Citadel Securities, the market maker founded by Griffin, recorded a profit of $2.36 billion, compared to $982 million for the same period the previous year. This was largely attributed to increased volatility, higher trading volume and greater engagement from retail traders.
As of November 2020, according to Bloomberg News, Ken Griffin’s net worth surpassed $20 billion, largely due to the increased value of Citadel, of which Griffin’s stake was worth $11.2 billion. However, his net worth may have fluctuated since then due to changes in the value of his assets and investments.
He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his business achievements and philanthropic work. Here are some of his notable accomplishments:
Griffin is known for his philanthropy, particularly in the areas of education and the arts. He has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to various causes, including public schools in Chicago and New York City, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.