Kenneth C. Griffin: Building a Citadel
To build a financial fortress for one’s clients is a herculean task that requires patience, perseverance, and not a small measure of planning. Kenneth Cordele Griffin has built such a fortress, and it is changing the world.
Ken Griffin didn’t start out to build a citadel, though. Back in 1987, the then-19-year-old Harvard University sophomore started trading from his dorm room with a fax machine, a personal computer, and a telephone. After graduating from Harvard in 1989 with a degree in economics, Mr. Griffin was given $1 million to invest by Glenwood Capital founder Frank C. Meyer; Kenneth exceeded Meyer’s expectations and, amazingly, Meyer made a 70% return on the investment.
Soon afterward, in 1990, Ken Griffin founded Citadel LLC with $4.6 million. By 1998, Citadel had more than 100 employees and over $1 billion in investment capital. Currently, the Chicago-based firm oversees $30 billion in assets under management and remains one of the most respected and successful investment firms in the world.
One of the most influential arms of Citadel LLC is Citadel Securities, which stands as the United States’ largest options market maker, executing around 25% U.S.-listed equity options volume. Incredibly, about one-third of stock orders from individual investors is completed through Citadel, with these orders accounting for approximately 10% of the firm’s revenue.
Thus, we can say that Kenneth C. Griffin has built a solid foundation within the domain of equities and options trading; however, we can also claim that Mr. Griffin’s has built a stronghold within his own community in Chicago. As a leader within the Windy City, Ken actively participates in numerous civic and cultural institutions that benefit his fellow Chicago denizens.
The evidence of Ken’s leadership role in his community is undisputed: Mr. Griffin serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and the Board of Trustees for the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The University of Chicago. He is also a member of numerous business organizations, including G100, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and the Economic Club of Chicago.
In addition to what he has created for his clients and his community, it appears that Kenneth C. Griffin has also built a stronghold for his workers: in March of 2015, Citadel LLC received a Top 10 Great Workplaces in Financial Services ranking by the Great Places to Work Institute, based on a survey by of the firm’s employees
Working to drive community improvement, foster a better workplace, and generate financial stability for his clients worldwide, Kenneth C. Griffin has indeed built something remarkable: a monument to positive change everywhere.