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Citadel had its fair share of turnover last yearapparently to the benefit of investors.

Returns of more than 9% in Citadels flagship strategy outpaced other large multistrategy funds and were good enough to garner one of fournominationsfor Absolute Return Management Firm of the Year. The Wellington fund gained across all five of its sub-strategies last yearcommodities, credit, equities, macroeconomic and systematic trades. Another of Citadels strategies, Citadel Global Equities, gained almost 6%.  Those returns compare to a loss of 6% in the S&P 500 and 2.8% increase in the Absolute Return Multistrategy Index.

The $29 billion hedge fund firm, which traces its roots to founder Ken Griffins Harvard dorm room, has gained a reputation for cutting underperforming teams and quickly shifting resources to new units. This month, Citadel announced it would shut its Aptigon Capital unit led by Eric Felder after cutting a third of the groups portfolio managers last year. Aptigon accounted for less than 5% of the money managed in the Wellington strategy, according to one investor.

Now Citadel is expanding another unit, Ashler Capital, that focuses on value investments and constructive engagement. The team recently hired former Paulson & Co. portfolio manager Samantha Greenberg, who closed her hedge fund Margate Capital Management to join the New York office this month. Globally, Citadels headcount increased by 200 last year to more than 1,800 employees, one person close to the matter says.

Citadel has recently worked to limit asset growth. Its flagship strategy returned last years profits to clients and subjected reinvested money to an additional 1% management fee that is netted against performance fees.

We continue to see alpha generated disproportionately by the strongest firms within each investment strategy, Griffin wrote in a letter to investors this year. Firms with the greatest capabilities, the deepest expertise and the most disciplined execution continue to generate significant returns, while firms that falter on these dimensions fall further and further behind.

The Absolute Return Award winners will be announced at adinneron March 28. Interested parties can contact James Barfield at j. or (646)-931-9058.

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