Small investors banding together online to pump up stocks like GameStop Corp. say they are defying Wall Street. But one of the biggest players in global markets stands to benefit from their frenetic trading.
Citadel Securities, the electronic-trading firm owned by hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, has played a quiet but critical role in the frenzy of the last two weeks.
The firm—an affiliate of Mr. Griffin’s hedge fund, Citadel—executes orders placed by customers of Robinhood Markets Inc., TD Ameritrade and other online brokerages that have enjoyed surging volumes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Citadel Securities makes money by selling stocks or options for slightly more than it’s willing to buy them. The difference is often just a fraction of a penny per share. But repeated millions of times a day, it adds up to serious money.
Last year, net trading revenue at Citadel Securities was $6.7 billion, almost double the previous high in 2018, a person familiar with the matter said.
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