Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, in 2014.

E. Jason Wambsgans | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Billionaire investor Ken Griffin’s flagship hedge fund matched the broader market’s performance in the beginning of 2023 following a record year, according to a person familiar with the returns.

Citadel’s multi-strategy flagship Wellington fund gained 0.7% last month, bringing its 2023 performance to 2.8% through February, the person said. The S&P 500 lost 2.6% in February, but is still up 3.4% this year through the end of last month.

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This year’s gain comes after a stellar year for the hedge fund, which soared 38% in 2022, marking the firm’s best year ever and outperforming its largest competitor, Millennium, by more than 3 to 1. Citadel has also racked up a nearly 117% return over the three-year period from 2020 to 2022.

Hedge funds aim to offer downside protection during market turmoil, and Citadel managed to shine during the worst chaos in the market in years. The S&P 500 tumbled into a bear market in 2022 as recession fears intensified on the back of the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes to tame the highest inflation in 40 years.

Macro hedge funds, those making bets around political or economic events, have fared particularly well as tighter monetary policy from global central banks stoked wild moves in different asset classes, from bonds to stocks, and commodities to currencies.

Citadel’s equities fund, which uses a long/short strategy, is up 2.4% this year, while its global fixed income fund is higher by 1.6% so far in 2023, the person said.

Citadel’s assets under management exceeded $54 billion as of the start of 2023.

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