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Citadel Waiving Redemption Fees for Fund Clients Seeking Cash

Melissa Karsh

(Bloomberg) -- Ken Griffin’s Citadel will allow investors to pull a total of $1 billion from its main hedge funds without incurring fees or penalties, a sign that clients are grappling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The move, an exception from the firm’s usual practice, is aimed at providing relief to those invested in Citadel’s flagship Wellington and Kensington funds, according to an investor letter seen by Bloomberg. Such clients are primarily institutions like pension funds. Citadel manages about $30 billion.

“In the wake of the unprecedented conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognize that our investors may have different capital needs, both in size and timing, than originally anticipated at the beginning of the year,” according to the Citadel letter dated Monday. “In response to these potential demands, we are offering $1 billion of additional liquidity to investors in our multi-strategy funds on June 30, 2020 without being subject to any redemption fees or other restrictions.”

A representative for Chicago-based Citadel confirmed the contents of the letter. The multi-strategy hedge fund gained about 4% in April and is up about 10% so far this year, Bloomberg has reported. It rose 19.4% last year.

Investors are facing financial uncertainty as the coronavirus and measures to contain it have brought economic activity to a standstill. While the Federal Reserve stepped in with a set of unprecedented emergency measures, those may offer little relief to pension funds or other institutions that may have an immediate need for cash.

Like many hedge fund firms, Citadel sets restrictions on investors. It may limit the amount or timing of withdrawals and charge certain fees for exceptions. During the financial crisis, many fund managers put up so-called gates to prevent clients from taking out their money.

“Many of our capital partners are at the forefront of the Coronavirus response -- including hospital systems, foundations and pension funds –- and we are fortunate to be in a position to provide these institutions with additional flexibility as they manage through this challenging period,” a representative for Citadel said in a statement.

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