Ken Griffin: The Key To Citadel’s Business Is Research

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The key to Citadel’s business is research and excellence in investing comes from focus, according to Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of the hedge fund during a rare interview with Kate Kelly on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.

Citadel continues to deliver strong returns—approximately 13% net of fees during the first eight months of 2015. The hedge fund $25 billion investment capital as of November 1st and remains focused on its objective of delivering consistently high-risk adjusted returns for its investors, according to its website.

Griffin says Citadel has a good year

During the interview, Griffin said Citadel has a good year across the majority of its business. According to him, the hedge fund’s team did well in commodities despite substantial volatility. The hedge fund’s equity business also has a “resounding year of performance.”

“The key to our business, it’s a lot of research.We’ll do about 15,000 management meetings this year,” said Griffin. He added that his firm had a lot of people on the ground trying to understand the changes in corporate America and Europe. They are also trying to find out where opportunities are emerging amid the significant changes happening worldwide.


Citadel founding principle is real pursuit of talent

When asked about his philosophy of hiring and retention, Griffin emphasized that the founding principle of Citadel is the real pursuit of talent. The firm hires people who have a passion for finance, and can make good decisions day in and day out.

According to Griffin, he started trading 24 hours a day during his early 20s, and one of the great advantages he had in his career was he learned how to delegate to people and to trust people.

“I realized that success was going to be born in hiring really bright people, very self-motivated, very able to make good judgment calls day in and day out,” said Griffin. He emphasized that they want to find the best and the brightest in the markets.He added that Citadel will interview 10,000 candidates to fill 300 jobs this year.

Griffin said Citadel is currently one of the largest market maker in equities around the world. He boasted that Citadel enjoyed 25 years of strong growth, and he believes that his firm will become one of the greatest securities dealers over the next 25 years.

He said their ambition is to become a leader in investing in each strategy where they engage today, and adding some new strategies to the mix over time. Griffin pointed out, “We think that excellence in investing comes from focus.”

Response on rumored IPO

There had been speculations that Griffin was considering an initial public offering (IPO) for Citadel. When asked about the issue, Griffin said the rumor has been going on for almost a decade. According to him, “There will come a time and place it will be appropriate for us to consider going public. That time is not now.

He added that anything could happen over the next two years, and he wouldn’t take the issue off the table. However, he pointed out that it is not at the front of his mind by any stretch of his imagination.

Griffin sees material risk for Europe after Paris attacks

When asked about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Griffin said the incident is “much more fundamentally challenging for Europe” given the fact that it is opening its border to roughly four to five million immigrants seeking political asylum.

Griffin said, “There’s a material risk that Europe will see more events such as this I think it’s going to drive a real debate around how porous should Europe’s borders be and what is the commitment of the European citizens and the European government to the European Union (EU) as a whole. Should Germany define the immigration policy for every country across Europe? That ‘s the question we are going to see in the months ahead.”


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