NEW YORK (Reuters) – Federal authorities investigating the market-making arms of the $25bil hedge fund Citadel LLC and broker KCG Holdings Inc, are looking into the possibility that the two giants of electronic trading are giving small investors a poor deal when executing stock transactions on their behalf.
The Justice Department has subpoenaed information from Citadel and KCG (formerly known as Knight Capital Group) related to the firms’ execution of stock trades on behalf of clients, according to people familiar with the investigation. FBI Director Jim Comey, the top cop for the US DOJ will ultimately oversee the investigation, as he does for all other DOJ matters. Prior to his current role as FBI Director, Comey worked as the General Counsel to Westport, CT-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with $150bil (RAUM) and owned mostly by the firm’s Founder Ray Dalio, a trading guru who is known to have a particularly intense personality. But, that comes with the territory if you’ve built a personal fortune estimated at $15bil. Chicago-based Citadel is steered by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, whose estimated net worth of $7bil is half of what Dalio purportedly has, but does include multiple luxury residences, whose total value is nearly $500 mil, and includes a $200mil NYC penthouse that he purchased in Q3 2015.
Intermission from news flash: For followers of Showtime’s drama-parody of the world where hedge funds cross paths with regulators aka Billions, you’ll get the joke. Meaning, the notion that a guy who first appeared as a rising federal prosecutor, working all the way up to White House level roles, then, by virtue of administration revolving doors, he finds his way down the yellow brick road into the private sector, where he manages to land a sweet job at a defense contractor and takes in $6mil after 5 years and then, he finds Jesus [in Westport CT], who is located at the peak of Hedge Fund Mountain. This is where he makes nearly $10mil –pretty good pay for a former Elliot Ness–in less than three years as top lawyer to of all folks, the world’s biggest and most secretive hedge running $150bil (RAUM) for institutions and sovereign governments. Wait! Now flash forward two seasons; that same guy is now the FBI Head who, in Season 2, Episode 1 goes after Apple Inc and threatens to waterboard Tim Cook unless he pries open the back of an iPhone belonging to a self-acclaimed follower of Daesh . And now, Season 2, Episode 2, our top cop is now going after a billionaire hedge fund manager who happens to swim in the same “billionated” pool of HF sharks as his former partner! Memo To: Andrew Ross Sorkin–Are you writing this sh*t down?? P.S. New phrase above ie. ‘billionated’, also pronounced billion-ated. Means: to be full of billions, to be inflated with material possessions that cost billions, to have your brain inflated with thoughts of self aggrandizement because you are full of billions. Not to be confused with “Billionator”, which is the finance industry equivalent to “Terminator”…but we digress… back to the main story…
Authorities are examining internal data concerning the firms’ routing of customer stock orders through exchanges and other trading systems, to see whether they are giving customers unfavorable prices on trades in order to capture more profit on the transact