Ken Griffin’s hedge fund Citadel posts double-digit returns in 2023, but lags the S&P 500

Ken Griffin, Citadel at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha, Sept. 28, 2022.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Billionaire investor Ken Griffin’s various hedge fund strategies at Citadel all posted double-digit returns for 2023, but they failed to beat the S&P 500.

Citadel’s multistrategy Wellington fund gained 15.3% last year, according to a person familiar with the returns. The flagship fund had enjoyed a stellar 2022 with a 38% gain, marking its best year on record.

The Miami-based firm’s tactical trading fund gained 14.8% in 2023, while its equities fund, which uses a long/short strategy, returned 11.6%, said the person who spoke anonymously because the performance numbers are private. Citadel’s global fixed income fund returned 10.9% last year, according to the person.

The stock market pulled off a surprisingly strong 2023 with the S&P 500 climbing 24% on the year. Risk assets enjoyed a big relief rally as the economy remained resilient and inflation cooled, while the Federal Reserve signaled an end to rate hikes and forecast rate cuts later this year. The market also endured a regional banking crisis as well as wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

However, the volatility and the tricky macro environment made it difficult for certain hedge fund strategies to beat the market. Hedge funds on average gained just about 4.4% in 2023 through November, according to research firm HFR.

Citadel is returning all of 2023’s $7 billion in profits to investors and the firm has handed back about $25 billion to investors since 2018, the person said. The financial giant has about $58 billion in assets under management.

Citadel declined to comment.

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