Austin may be about to get a little less weird.
Citadel Securities, the market-making firm founded by billionaire Ken Griffin, has been quietly staffing a new office in Austin, the quirky Texas city whose residents and independent businesses have embraced the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”
The company, which is separate from Griffin’s Citadel global hedge fund, is hiring software engineers and quantitative researchers (“quants”) to work in Austin. As a market maker, Citadel Securities stands ready to buy or sell financial instruments, providing liquidity to institutional clients and retail broker-dealers of fixed income, equity, and foreign exchange products. According to Bloomberg, the company generated $3.5 billion in revenue last year, and it handles one in five shares traded in the U.S.
Citadel Securities, which is based in Chicago and has major offices in London and New York, expects to build a “significant presence” in the Texas city, which is already home to a number of tech players. Dell’s headquarters is based in nearby Round Rock, and Google and Apple recently have announced expansion plans in Austin. The city is also home to many closely watched private companies, such as Bumble and Outdoor Voices.
Despite the robust competition for tech talent, Citadel Securities executives say computer scientists, engineers, and researchers are drawn to the firm because of the complex problems they get to solve, the speed with which solutions and products are deployed, and the meritocratic culture of innovation executives foster. “We’re not bureaucratic,” says Matt Culek, chief operating officer of Citadel Securities.
And while a trading firm like Citadel Securities may appear, on the surface, to be an unusual addition to the Austin business mix, Culek says the company hopes to soak up the local tech culture. “A lot of innovation still happens locally,” he says. “There’s a reason many tech firms are located in technology hubs. That’s where you tap into a flow of information, a flow of ideas. Expanding our physical footprint into new locations helps us continue learning and evolving our approach to research and innovation.”