Ken Griffin moves from Citadel from Chicago to Miami following allegations of crime

Ken Griffin moves from Citadel from Chicago to Miami following allegations of crime

Billionaire Ken Griffin is moving his large hedge fund company Citadel from Chicago to Miami, the third largest employer to announce the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Illinois in the last two months.

In a letter to officials Thursday, Mr Griffin said he had personally moved to Florida – a state that does not collect personal income tax – and that his purchasing firm, Citadel Securities, would also be relocated. He wrote that he considers Florida to be a better corporate environment and although he did not specifically mention crime as a factor, company officials said it was an estimate.

Mr. Griffin has been the richest resident of Illinois, so his departure will hurt state tax revenues from both individuals and companies. It could also be a blow to the Chicago charity scene. Mr Griffin has donated more than $ 600 million to educational, cultural, medical and political organizations in the region, spokesman Zia Ahmed said.

Griffin, 53, is valued at $ 28.9 billion and is one of the 50 richest people in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Late last year, it won a first-time copy of the $ 43.2 million US Constitution at auction and is displaying it in public places across the country.

He has also been involved in making significant donations to institutions, including his university, Harvard University, where he famously started his initial commercial business in the freshman dormitory. It has broken records with the art and real estate markets, including a luxury Florida-based complex previously mentioned by the Wall Street Journal as part of a huge $ 1 billion home portfolio for Mr. Griffin.

“Chicago will continue to be important for Citadel’s future, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin wrote. “Last year, however, many of our Chicago teams asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”

The move is expected to be a multi-year process and will involve developer Sterling Bay and architectural firms designing a new office tower. There are currently about 1,000 employees in Chicago and many are expected to stay.

Citadel is one of the most successful hedge fund companies, managing $ 51 billion in assets and steadily outperforming its competitors through its multi-strategic capital, having survived large losses in the 2008 financial crisis.

Citadel executives estimated that the value of hedging fund activity was between $ 5 billion and $ 7 billion when it was much less managed, the newspaper reported in 2019. In January, Citadel Securities electronics valuation deal – trading around $ 22 billion, a move that was then seen as a possible precursor to the company’s initial public offering.

Mr. Griffin and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, heiress to the Hyatt Hotel and brother of former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, have been at loggerheads in recent years over recent violence in Chicago.

In an April interview with the Journal, Griffin suggested he could relocate from Illinois because of rising crime rates and employee involvement in the state’s largest city.

“If people are not safe here, they are not going to live here,” he said at the time. “Many of my colleagues were robbed at gunpoint. I stabbed a colleague on the way to work. Countless burglary issues. I mean, this is a really difficult scenario from which you can draw talent in your city. “

Caterpillar Inc.

said earlier this month that it had moved from its longtime base in Illinois to Texas. Manufacturers are increasingly turning to the southwest as a destination for new factories, drawing on available space, attractive tax policies and an expanding technology workforce.

Boeing in May Co.

said it was moving its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, to be closer to top federal officials.

As part of plans to split its business into three companies, Kellogg Co.

said earlier this week that its global snack business will be based in Chicago, with a second corporate campus in Battle Creek, Mich.

Citadel Securities has been present in Florida since March 2020, when employees started working from a high quality hotel there at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a note to officials, Griffin said the new headquarters would be located in Brickell Bay, “in the heart of Miami’s thriving business district.”

The ruling makes Citadel the latest investment company to relocate or open an office in a more tax-friendly jurisdiction during the pandemic as quality of life factors take on new significance.

D1 Capital Partners, Elliott Management Corp. and Melvin Capital Management are among the companies now present in Florida, making it a new satellite of New York and Connecticut for the hedge fund industry.

“Chicago was a remarkable home for Citadel,” Griffin wrote. “I still remember the incredible citizen pride and commitment when I arrived more than thirty years ago — and the approach of business and political leaders who wanted us to succeed and become part of the Chicago community web.”

Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for Pritzker, said “countless companies are choosing Illinois as their home” and that the state had a record number of start-ups last year.

“We will continue to welcome these businesses – including Kellogg, which just this week announced it is moving its largest headquarters to Illinois – and support emerging industries that are already creating good jobs and investing billions in Illinois, such as data centers. “Electric vehicles and quantum computers,” Bittner said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s media office said the departure was disappointing.

“We thank the Citadel team for their contribution to our city and its many charitable commitments, particularly in education, arts and culture and public safety,” the office said in a statement. “Our economic prospects have never been stronger and we will continue to build on the recovery of the best in the country among the major US cities.”

Data from the Chicago Police Department show that as of June 19, homicides were down 11% compared to the same period last year, while thefts were up 65%, car thefts were up 40% and burglaries were down 31%. %.

As of May 29, crime figures in Miami show that homicides were down 37.5% compared to the same period last year, while robberies were up 50.8% and burglaries were down 73.2%.

Mr Griffin donated $ 50 million in the run-up to Tuesday’s qualifiers in Illinois to the campaign of Richard Irwin, a Chicago suburban mayor who is running for the Republican nomination. He is also a major sponsor of efforts nationwide to help the GOP gain control of Congress in November and has made a significant contribution to Florida Gov. Ron DeSadis, a potential Republican candidate for the 2024 presidency.

Write to John McCormick at mccormick.john@wsj.com and Juliet Chung at juliet.chung@wsj.com

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