Ken Griffin Dishes At Delivering Alpha 2014

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Always witty hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who runs Chicago-based Citadel, is waxing eloquent on a variety of subjects in an interview with CNBC’s Megan Kelly Wednesday morning at Delivering Alpha 2014.

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One interesting early question had to to do with how many security badge swipes were required to reach the Citadel trading floor. It turned out the answer was five.

“We need to protect our intellectual property,” Griffin responded to the question after listing the swipes he makes every day — the parking garage, the building entrance, elevator, trading floor, and so forth.

Delivering Alpha Conference: Ken Griffin gives Fox-Time Warner deal a thumbs up

Ken Griffin told the audience at the CNBC Delivering Alpha Conference that a Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) and Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) deal “makes a lot of sense.”

Griffin said that both media companies have “great assets”, and that it would be likely a good deal for both of them.

“I think we’ll get to ‘yes,'” he said, in wrapping up his answer to the question

It should be noted that Citadel’s Griffin-managed portfolio includes both Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA).

Delivering Alpha Conference: Political ambitions?

Griffin was also asked about his large donation to an Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate.

He did not answer directly, but did lament that Illinois has slipped down the ratings in terms of being a good place to do business.

When queried whether he had ever considered running for governor, he replied he “doesn’t see it in his future.”

Delivering Alpha Conference: Fed rate hike

In answering a question about the Fed, Griffin said it is extremely difficult to stop a rate-hike cycle once it’s under way and that’s why the Fed is so apprehensive about moving too soon and throwing a wrench into the recovery.

“My personal view is the Fed is going to stay low longer than people expect,” Griffin said, but when it moves it will take action more aggressively than most people expect.

He pointed out that Citadel trades interest-rate products every day and will trade based on its opinions, but when it comes to stocks, the company tries to avoid making big “macroeconomic calls.”

Delivering Alpha Conference: Surviving the financial crisis

Griffin commented that Citadel lost nearly half of its equity capital in 16 weeks during the financial crisis in 2008, which he characterized as a “very dark moment.”

He said that the firm had to adapt and evolve to a post-shadow banking world. Moreover, great investors and great staff “gave us an opportunity to move forward.”

Griffin also said the entire business moved toward trading equities, fixed-income securities, commodities and other highly liquid assets. Focusing on liquid markets enabled Citadel to enjoy some success and was able to “find the room to get back on our feet and prosper.”

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