(Bloomberg) -- Ken Griffin is moving Citadel’s headquarters to Miami, leaving its current home of Chicago after the billionaire decried the city’s crime rate and voiced frustrations with political leadership in Illinois.
The relocation will affect both hedge fund Citadel and Citadel Securities, the market making business, firm spokesman Zia Ahmed said Thursday. It’s the first step in a multi-year process that will involve the firm building a new office in Miami, which will serve as its global headquarters.
Griffin, 53, said just last month that he was reaching a tipping point with Chicago. The hedge fund and market maker, both of which he founded, combined employ more than 1,000 people in the city. The firm said it expects a few hundred people to be based in Miami next year.
“Many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world” over the past year, Griffin, who founded Citadel in 1990, said in a letter to employees. “I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”
Griffin, a prominent Republican donor, has long clashed with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and has become increasingly critical of Chicago, once describing the city’s violent crime “like Afghanistan on a good day.” Still, the move is yet another blow for the third-largest US city, with blue-chip companies including Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. already announcing plans this year to leave the state.
With a personal fortune of $28.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Griffin has been a major benefactor to Chicago over the years. He gave a $125 million gift to the city’s Museum of Science & Industry and his name adorns a hall at the Art Institute of Chicago, while the company and its employees are a significant contributor to the tax base.
“Chicago has been a remarkable home for Citadel,” Griffin said in his letter. “I am proud of all that we have contributed to Chicago over the past three decades.”
Miami and South Florida, meanwhile, continue to see an influx of financial firms. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Blackstone Group Inc., hedge funds like Dan Sundheim’s D1 Capital Partners and family offices including Josh Harris’s HRS Management are among those that have boosted their presence in the state, which has no income tax.
The state is already familiar territory for Griffin, who was born in Daytona Beach and went to high school in Boca Raton.
During the pandemic, the trading portion of Griffin’s empire largely left its Chicago and New York offices and took over the Four Seasons Palm Beach. Griffin said last year that Florida had an “opportunity” to become a destination for more talent.
Citadel plans to partner with developer Sterling Bay to design a tower on Miami’s Brickell Bay in the city’s business district. The process will take several years, with the firm leasing space for employees who relocate in the interim. Some at Citadel Securities are already working from temporary offices at the Southeast Financial Center.
The headquarters shift won’t affect Citadel’s expansion plans in New York, with the first of its teams moving into the firm’s location at 425 Park Ave. in the coming months.
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