The Citadel in Charleston is not related to Citadel LLC or Citadel Securities, Chicago-based hedge fund entities currently embroiled in a stock market revolt by independent day traders against institutional investors.
Yet, the Charleston military college with a not-too-shabby $314 million endowment of its own is taking some of the fire directed at the embattled market maker with some $35 billion in assets under management (well, as of October 2020).
The whole chain reaction that led to the social media outcry is interesting and complicated, and you can read about more of it below.
Long story, short: The Citadel in Charleston is not that Citadel.
But suffice it to say, The Citadel in Charleston was mistaken for the hedge-fund-related Citadel, which people were angry at over alleged involvement in stock trading controversies this week.
The Citadel’s social media team took the errant mentions in stride, promoting the school, but apologizing, “Unfortunately, we’re not able to help with your stocks.”
The mix-up stemmed from an astonishing week on Wall Street that saw users of followers of the WallStreetBets subreddit drive up the stock price of low-value companies like GameStop, the AMC theater chain, BlackBerry and others. On Friday, GameStop closed at $325 per share, up from $77 on Monday.
Through the week, as fund managers found themselves without enough cash to cover investment obligations, other fund managers began dealing, passing each other billions to bridge gaps. As heartburn persisted among establishment investors, one brokerage app popular with younger investors, Robinhood, eventually halted trading of the volatile stocks on their platforms as prices fluctuated rapidly.
That halt triggered immediate reaction, with amateur investors and U.S. senators of all stripes calling foul.
Citadel, which was involved in some transactions to float one embattled fund, denied reports that it had a hand in Robinhood’s decision to block trades of GameStop and others. Robinhood’s CEO also denied outside involvement in the decision.
The college’s communications staff members say they have not received any threats over the situation, beyond sorting through angry, foul-mouthed tweeters in their mentions.