2016 Salt Conference – Ken Griffin: The Secret to Attracting The Top Hedge Fund Talent

May 11 2016 | 8:34pm ET

Citadel founder Ken Griffin reflected on his career in the markets starting during his pre-internet years at Harvard University at the 2016 Salt Conference.

During an interview with SALT Founder and SkyBridge CEO Anthony Scaramucci, Griffin discussed how he and his team built Citadel, the importance of a strong corporate culture, and his positive views on entrepreneurialism in the United States. 

Early on, Griffin said that the best advice he received came from a mentor who told him to avoid marrying himself to a strategy. Instead, he focused on building “a platform that attracts the best people.”

In addition, Griffin said that the 24-hour business required that he learn how to delegate and manage people in his early 20s.

“One of the most important lessons of my early career was the process of delegation.”

Competing for Number One

In the wake of recent statements about a lack of talent in the hedge fund industry, Griffin implied that attracting good talent is a proactive process.

“Every new generation of managers has the same story about how hard it is to find talented people,” he said. “Good people have great sets of opportunities. You need to sell people on why they need to leave one firm and come work for you. I believe that the best talent is the talent that you go out and find. The talent that knocks on your door is not the best.”

Griffin highlighted Citadel’s success in recruiting from rivals and from firms that collapsed, but still were full of good talent such as Enron. At the time that Enron collapsed, the firm had a wealth of brilliant quantitative minds, but the firm lacked a strong culture. 

Griffin offered an explanation why being the top fund and managing top companies is important.

“Who is the number five manufacturer of personal computers?” he asked, after a pause. “Who cares? We’re in more and more of a winner takes all world.”


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