Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest person and founder of industry-leading investment firm Citadel, announced on Thursday that he is relocating his company from Chicago to Miami, citing a more business-friendly atmosphere and a comparative reduction in crime.
In a memo sent to employees, Griffin noted that Florida harbors a better corporate environment due to its favorable tax structure and lack of an income tax. The move is expected to be a multi-year process and will necessitate the construction of a new office building in the downtown Miami neighborhood of Brickell.
In prior years, Griffin threatened to pull Citadel out of Illinois, referring to Chicago in 2013 as a city of “broken schools, bankrupt pensions, rising crime, a declining tax base, and public corruption.”
“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin said in his memo to employees. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York, and our other offices around the world.”
Citadel is one of the most successful hedge-fund firms, overseeing $51 billion in assets and regularly outpacing competitors and the market, making a swift recovery following the 2008 recession.
Citadel is estimated to be valued at $5 billion. In January, Citadel Securities agreed to take its first outside investment in a deal valuing the electronic-trading operation at around $22 billion, a move seen at the time as a potential precursor to an initial public offering of the business, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“It is becoming ever more difficult to have this as our global headquarters, a city which has so much violence,” Griffin said in a past interview with the Economic Club of Chicago. “Chicago is like Afghanistan on a good day, and that’s a problem.”
Griffin is a noted GOP donor, pledging millions to past Republican candidates, including a $20 million donation to Richard Irvin during his campaign to replace Democrat Governor. J.B. Pritzker.
State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis took note of the move, lauding Florida’s success in drawing businesses to The Sunshine State.
“Florida is open for business and the world is taking notice,” said Patronis.” Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, more than 900 people a day are moving to Florida to enjoy everything our great state offers and escape their high-tax, high-crime cities. In Florida, we have an amazing quality of life because we value public safety, freedom, and the right to make a living for your family and pursue the American Dream. A huge congrats to Citadel for moving their new corporate headquarters to Miami. I have no doubt their team will love it here in the Sunshine State.”