If a Chicago-based hedge fund goes public, can it relocate East Coast talent to the Windy City? Citadel Investment Group, which is signaling interest in an IPO, says many New Yorkers fall in love with the city. Yet some still give it the cold shoulder: "A lot of people in New York still believe anything west of the Hudson [River] is the wilderness," says one exec.
But Chicago's low prices and calmer lifestyle have won converts. One Citadel worker called his spouse "very much a Manhattan girl" before they moved, but now, he says, "she won't leave." One Chicago Mercantile Exchange chair claims that a Western, "risk-taking" attitude boosts financial innovation. Yet some risks, such as boosting returns with leverage, have proven dicey.