Ken Griffin

Firm: Citadel Investment Group
City: Chicago
2008 Age: 40
2008 Assets Under Management: $20 Billion

Self made billionaire Ken Griffin is the managing director and CEO of Citadel Investment Group, one of the largest hedge funds in the world.

Griffin was born in Daytona Beach, Florida and lived in Texas and Wisconsin as a child. He returned to Florida, attending middle and high school in Boca Raton. His father was a project manager for General Electric.

Griffin started trading while at Harvard University, where he traded stock options and started two funds from his dorm room.

After graduating in three years with a degree in economics Griffen received $1 million in backing from Frank C. Meyer of Glenwood Capital which he used to trade convertible bonds with considerable success.

Citadel was founded in 1990 with $4.2 million. The name Citadel was chosen to reflect the firm’s strength and security in volatile market conditions. Citadel is a technology driven quant fund – selecting trades based on quantitative analysis. Computer-based models govern trading in the firm’s two main funds, Kensington Global strategies (Citadel’s largest fund) and Wellington (Citadel’s oldest fund and its flagship fund).

Citadel employs over 1,200 individuals globally and is headquartered in Citadel Center located in the Chicago loop.

Citadel aquired a reputation for being secretive, reluctant to divulge information to investors. Rather than charging a standard management fee Citadel passes on expenses to investors and keeps 20% of profits.

While the fund has a reputation for a high pressure working environment and significant turnover it is also known to handsomely reward star traders.

A recruiting rivalry between Griffin and hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb of Third Point has been an area of controversy in the industry.

Griffin is an active collector and patron of the arts. In 2006, he donated $19 million to the Art Institute of Chicago. Along with numerous boards, Griffin is on the Chicago 2016 Olympics organizing committee.

Griffin is married to Anne Dias-Griffin, also a hedge fund manager and founder of Aragon Global Management.