Citadel founder Ken Griffin said his one-time favorite candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, needs to win Iowa to have a chance.
Griffin, who has been looking for an alternative to former President Donald Trump, called Nikki Haley a rockstar.
Griffin was speaking at the Robin Hood conference in New York
Billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin may have a new favorite candidate in the GOP presidential primary.
Griffin, who was originally a prominent supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, called former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley "a rockstar" Wednesday in front of a crowd of finance titans and philanthropists. Speaking on stage with fellow hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones at the closed-to-the-media Robin Hood conference in New York, Griffin said Haley has momentum and experience, while chastising the policy decisions of DeSantis over the last few months, a person in the room told Insider.
"We're going to see Governor DeSantis face pressure to justify and explain his decisions and that's a moment for him to mature," Griffin said.
For DeSantis to have a chance, Griffin said, he needs to win Iowa. Meanwhile, Chris Christie — the former New Jersey governor who counts billionaire Steve Cohen as a supporter — is done if he loses New Hampshire, Griffin said.
The Citadel chief has been keen to find a GOP alternative to former President Donald Trump, who has dominated polls despite multiple indictments and scandals. Griffin told the audience at Robin Hood — a charity that aims to alleviate poverty in New York City — that he believes there's a solid chance a candidate other than Trump and President Joe Biden wins the 2024 election.
Citadel declined to comment.
Griffin also spoke about the markets, as the hedge fund mogul is also the founder of market-maker Citadel Securities, which was valued at $22 billion last year. He said one big risk he sees in the derivatives space is the continued shift to passive strategies.
These strategies, Griffin said, do not provide liquidity during periods of market turmoil. He played to the room of money managers, telling them "we play a very critical role in keeping our capital markets efficient."
"The SEC should be thinking about how to increase both active management and ensure that the hedge fund community continues to flourish rather than continue to burden us," he said.
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