Citadel's Main Funds Down 8% YTD as Surveyor Struggles

Mar 18 2016 | 11:51pm ET

Ken Griffin’s Citadel is down 8% in its main funds through March 11 as its Surveyor Capital long/short equity unit continues to struggle.

Surveyor, founded in 2009 and one of three equity teams within Citadel, is made up of experienced managers who run their own teams with support and backing from the company. The division’s portfolios are typically focused on one of seven industry sector groups: Communications, Media and Entertainment; Consumer; Energy and Utilities; Financials; Healthcare; Industrials; and Technology.

The Surveyor unit was responsible for roughly 75% of Citadel’s losses during the first two months of the year, reported Bloomberg citing unidentified people familiar with the fund’s performance. Layoffs at the unit in February included head trader Al Boston, while the unit’s chief, Jon Venetos, left the company in January after 10 years with the firm and was replaced by Citadel veteran Todd Barker.

Griffin’s well-known hedge fund is not the only mega-manager putting up dismal numbers to start the year. Bill Ackman’s $12 billion Pershing Square is down an estimated 26% as its core holding, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, continues to tank (and torpedo a number of hedge funds in the process), while Crispin Odey’s Odey Asset Management is reportedly down 25.5% so far this year on poorly-timed bets on Chinese securities and commodities companies.

Chicago-based Citadel was founded by Ken Griffin in 1990 with $4.6 million. He subsequently built it into a global alternative investment powerhouse that manages more than $24 billion in assets. 

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