Citadel, the Chicago-based hedge fund giant led by billionaire Ken Griffin, has so far weathered the coronavirus market storm well, turning a slight profit in its flagship Wellington hedge fund for the year through Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The fund, which practices a so-called multi-strategy array of bets on stocks, bonds, commodities and other securities using teams of traders, was as of Friday down 5.25 percent for March, said the person, who requested anonymity because the information is private. The exact year-to-date gain, which is net of fees, was not finalized.
By comparison, Goldman Sachs’ prime services division estimated that the average equity-focused hedge fund is down 15.5 percent for the month through Thursday, with average year-to-date losses at nearly 16%.
Citadel’s multi-strategy competitors are still down for the year amid the coronavirus-led market rout. Millennium Management’s main hedge fund is down about 4.3 percent for 2020 through March 20, while Schonfeld Strategic Advisors is down about 15 percent through March 16, according to people briefed on the returns.
The exact drivers of Citadel’s relative outperformance were unclear. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Citadel’s fixed-income portfolio recently lost hundreds of millions of dollars, in part from so-called basis trades on pricing gaps between US Treasurys and futures, although those unrealized losses were recovered within days. The Citadel Global Fixed Income Fund is now positive for the year through Monday, the person with knowledge of Citadel said.