Despite suffering a contentious divorce that made headlines last year, Citadel's Ken Griffin is on top of the world.
His Chicago hedge fund ended 2014 on a high note, with a whopping $24 billion in assets and double-digit returns in three funds — well above the industry average.
Citadel's Global Equities Fund posted returns of 23.4% in 2014, including gains of 2.8% in December, according to performance data seen by USA TODAY.
That was the fund's best year since inception in 2009, according to a person with knowledge of the fund who was not authorized to speak on the record.
Griffin's computerized trading fund, Citadel Tactical Trading, gained 26.4% in 2014, including a 2.3% gain in December, according to the data. The fund has annualized returns of 26% since the beginning of 2008, a few months after it launched, according to Bloomberg News.
Citadel's flagship Kensington and Wellington funds rose 17.9% in 2014 following gains of 1.1% in December, according to the data. The two funds plummeted 55% in the midst of the financial crisis in 2008, losing $9 billion. The loss was recouped in 2012.
The average fund, by contrast, returned just 2.5% in 2014, according to eVestment, a data tracker.
Citadel's results were driven largely by its stock picks, according to the person with knowledge of the fund. It also saw profitable trades in energy and credit.
Last year's returns and asset bump — up from $16 billion at the start of the year — solidify Griffin's status as a hedge fund titan, a title that was broadcast to the wider world when he was called to testify before Congress on hedge fund regulation in 2008, along with George Soros.
But the latest gains also comes as Griffin battles with his wife of 11 years, Anne Dias Griffin, over assets in their divorce.
In July, Griffin, 43, filed for divorce from Dias Griffin, a former Goldman Sachs analyst and founder of financial firm Aragon Global Management. The proceedings grew contentious after Dias Griffin moved to toss their prenuptial agreement, saying she signed it under duress.
Dias Griffin is seeking an "equitable" share of the couple's property, which could include Griffin's earnings up until the divorce was filed, experts said.
The matter is winding its way through Cook County court in Chicago.
Dias Griffin recently faced a big setback in the case when the judge ruled that she couldn't mention therapy sessions she attended with her soon-to-be husband prior to their marriage due to privacy rules, according to the Chicago Tribune. Dias Griffin has alleged she was coerced in part by the therapist, who had a pre-existing relationship with Griffin.
But if Dias Griffin succeeds in tossing the prenup, at least some of Citadel's recent gains could add to her bounty, experts said.
"Generally speaking, if somebody owns a business and that business appreciates due to the active efforts of that person, the money that would be on the table for the spouse would be greater," says Jacqueline Newman, a divorce attorney in New York.
Griffin, worth $5.5 billion according to Forbes, is Citadel's founder and CEO. Hedge fund firms typically make money through a percentage of total assets as well as a cut of the profits.