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Ken Griffin moves from Chicago to Miami after complaints of crime

Ken Griffin moves from Chicago to Miami after complaints of crime

Billionaire Ken Griffin is moving his hedge-fund firm Citadel from Chicago to Miami, the third major employer to announce a corporate headquarters move from Illinois in the past two months.

In a letter to employees on Thursday, Mr Griffin said he had personally moved to Florida – a state that does not collect personal income tax – and that his market-making business, Citadel Securities, would also relocate. He wrote that he views Florida as having a better corporate environment and although he did not specifically cite crime as a factor, company executives said it was a consideration.

Mr. Griffin has been the wealthiest resident of Illinois, so his departure will hurt state tax collections on both the individual and corporate sides. It could also be a blow to Chicago’s philanthropic scene. Spokesperson Zia Ahmed said Mr. Griffin has given more than $600 million in gifts to educational, cultural, medical and civic organizations in the region.

The 53-year-old has an estimated net worth of $28.9 billion and is one of the top 50 richest people in the world. Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Late last year, he won a $43.2 million first-edition copy of the US Constitution at auction and is being displayed in public places across the country.

Mr. Griffin has also been active in making large donations to institutions including his alma mater, Harvard University, where he began his initial trading business in his new dorm room. He has broken records with his art and real estate purchases, including a grand campus in Florida, which The Wall Street Journal previously reported as part of a massive, $1 billion portfolio of residential real estate for Mr. Griffin. .

The top four floors of a condominium building that Mr. Griffin spent more than $58 million to acquire several years ago—setting a record for the most expensive home ever purchased in Chicago—will be put on the market, Mr. Ahmed said. Told.

“Chicago will continue to be critical to the future of the Citadel, as many of our partners have deep ties to Illinois,” Mr. Griffin wrote. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to our other offices in Miami, New York and around the world.”

The move is expected to be a multi-year process and will involve developer Stirling Bay and the architecture firm to design a new office tower. There are currently about 1,000 employees in Chicago and many are expected to remain.

Citadel is one of the most successful hedge-fund firms, managing $51 billion in assets and having consistently outperformed competitors through its multi-strategic funds since escaping huge losses in the 2008 financial crisis.

Citadel executives estimated the hedge-fund business alone was valued at between $5 billion and $7 billion when it managed very little, as the Journal reported in 2019. In January, Citadel Securities agreed to take its first outside investment in a deal valued at Electronic. -trading operation approximately $22 billion, a move seen at the time as a possible precursor to the initial public offering of the business.

Mr. Griffin and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune and brother of former US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, were at odds over the escalating violence in Chicago in recent years.

In an April interview with the Journal, Mr Griffin suggested he might move his operations out of Illinois due to rising crime rates and incidents of staff involvement in the state’s largest city.

“If people are not safe here, they are not going to live here,” he had said then. “I have duped many colleagues at gunpoint. A colleague of mine has been stabbed while on his way to work. Countless cases of theft. I mean, it’s a really tough background with which to attract talent to your city. ,

Kamla Inc.

said earlier this month it was moving from its longtime Illinois base to Texas. Manufacturers have rapidly turned to the Southwest as a destination for new factories, fueled by available space, attractive tax policies, and an expanding technology workforce.

In May, Boeing Co.

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

As part of a plan to split its business into three companies, Kellogg’s Co.

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

Citadel Securities has had a presence in Florida since March 2020, when employees began working from a high-end hotel there at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his note to employees, Mr. Griffin said the new headquarters would be on Brickell Bay, “in the heart of Miami’s thriving financial district.”

The decision makes Citadel the latest investment firm to move its headquarters or open an office in a more tax-friendly jurisdiction during the pandemic, as quality of life factors have taken on new importance.

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

“Chicago has been a remarkable home to the Citadel,” Mr Griffin wrote. “I still remember the incredible civic pride and connectedness I had when I visited more than thirty years ago – and the outreach by business and political leaders who wanted us to be successful and be part of the fabric of Chicago’s community.”

Mr Pritzker’s spokeswoman Emily Bittner said “countless companies are choosing Illinois as their home” and that the state had a record number of business startups in the past year.

“We will continue to welcome those businesses – including Kellogg’s, which this week announced it was moving its largest headquarters to Illinois – and support emerging industries that are already creating great jobs. and are investing billions in Illinois, such as data centers, electric vehicles and quantum computing,” said Ms Bittner.

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

“We thank the Citadel team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, particularly to education, the arts and culture, and public safety,” the office said in a statement. “Our economic outlook has never been stronger and we will continue to build on the best-in-class recovery in the country among large US cities.”

Data from the Chicago Police Department shows that during June 19, homicides decreased by 11% compared to the same period a year earlier, compared to 65% in burglaries, 40% in motor-vehicle thefts, and burglaries. an increase of 31%.

until 29th May, crime statistics in miami Murders are down 37.5% compared to the same period a year ago, while robberies are up 50.8% and thefts are up 73.2%.

Mr Griffin has donated $50 million to Chicago suburban mayor Richard Irwin’s campaign for the Republican nomination for governor ahead of Tuesday’s Illinois primary. He is also a major donor to nationwide efforts to help the GOP regain control of Congress in November and has been a key contributor to Florida Gov.’s Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

write to John McCormick at [email protected] and Juliet Chung at [email protected]

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