Opinion: Citadel’s Ken Griffin calls accusations his market makers colluded with Robinhood a “bad comic joke”


Ken Griffin may not have finished hearing about the #KenGriffinLied meme on social media.

In an interview Wednesday morning at the Dealbook Online Summit, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Citadel LLC and market maker Citadel Securities lashed out at his legion of hateful retail investors on social media who continue to believe that he played a key role in the abrupt end. the chaotic January contraction in stocks even like GameStop GME,
-3.59%
and others.

When the idea is emphasized that Griffin is sitting in the middle of the memes stock market movement and many retail investors believe his role as a ubiquitous market maker stems from the Robinhood HOOD buy orders,
-6.02%
and other commission-free trading platforms while running a massive hedge fund, creates a situation where he wields too much power, Griffin said.

“Most people I deal with love the fact that as a retail investor you trade instantly and get a better price in return,” said Griffin, championing the controversial pay-for-flow practice. orders.

But while many retail traders now want this practice to be scrutinized by the SEC and other regulators, their real problem with Griffin comes from seeing him as an almost Rasputin-like figure in the decision to Robinhood to restrict trading on GameStop shares on January 1. 28.

Because Citadel Securities uses payment for order flow to pay for the privilege of executing more than half of Robinhood’s trades, this is a key source of application revenue, and the importance of this The relationship fueled conspiracy theories that Citadel Securities executives relied on Robinhood to end the short squeeze by banning users from buying meme shares.

Citadel LLC’s $ 2.75 billion investment in / bailout of Melvin Capital, the hedge fund run by target retail investor Gabe Plotkin, fanned the flames of these theories, as did a modified lawsuit filed in Florida on September 21 on behalf of a group of retail investors. who claimed to prove that Robinhood executives were talking to their Citadel Securities counterparts a day before the restrictions were announced.

An SEC investigation into GameStop’s shortening found no evidence of collusion, which Griffin and his team have publicly celebrated.

Griffin spoke out on his experience in the center of the storm on Wednesday.

“The whole GameStop conspiracy theory, I mean it’s come and gone,” Griffin said, revealing that he doesn’t spend a lot of time on Reddit. “It was fascinating to be at the center of this conspiracy.”

When asked what that does, Griffin looked at both his detractors and a certain New York-based TV show.

“It was like a bad comedy joke,” Griffin replied. “It was like a Saturday Night Live skit the whole time.”

But apparently Griffin was not at the forefront of the conspiracy. He said on Wednesday that he doesn’t have a Twitter account and that “people are just coming to tell me what’s going on.”

Those folks will have been busy Wednesday afternoon as retail social media investors pilloried Griffin’s appearance, a predictable outcome because inviting Ken Griffin to talk about the stocks meme is, for many, asking Kanye. West what he thinks of the Kardashians.

“Ken Griffin lied (again),” read the headline of a popular r / AMCStock subreddit post on Wednesday afternoon.

On Twitter, the takes were more visual:

Despite several social media threads pledging to use Griffin’s comments as more fodder for their favorite actions, GameStop and AMC Entertainment AMC,
-4.11%,
were down more than 4% on Wednesday afternoon.

Griffin also shared his growing concerns about inflation, his advice to the White House that the fiscal stimulus has gone too far, his continued cryptocurrency skepticism and a new pledge to spend some of his fortune. to defeat Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, with whom he publicly opposed what Griffin sees as the political destruction of his hometown of Chicago.


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