Billionaire Simons Said to Hire BofA CIO for Family Office

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Euclidean Capital, the family office for hedge fund billionaire James Simons, hired Ashvin Chhabra to help run the firm.

Chhabra, the former chief investment officer of Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, has known Simons for at least a decade and will take over as president in September, according to two people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the office is private.

Chhabra, who has a doctorate in applied physics from Yale University, shares an interest in science and mathematics with his new boss. Simons, 77, is a former military code cracker who founded Renaissance Technologies and built it into one of the largest and best performing hedge fund managers. The East Setauket, New York-based firm, which uses computer models to seek out profits in markets, oversees more than $20 billion.

Simons retired as chief executive officer in 2009 and has served as president of his family office and chairman of Renaissance Technologies.

Chhabra declined to comment and Simons couldn’t immediately be reached.

It’s not public how much money Chhabra will oversee at Euclidean because family offices -- which handle the financial and daily affairs of a single wealthy family -- aren’t required to disclose those details to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Simons has a net worth exceeding $15 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Shifting Roles

Euclidean Capital had 20 active participants in its 401(k) plan as of 2013, according to its latest filing with the Department of Labor.

For Chhabra, it will be a shift from his role charting investments for thousands of Merrill Lynch advisers. He’ll be at the intersection of investing, science and philanthropy because of Simons’ interests and activities, which include funding autism research and founding Math for America, which seeks to improve public schools. Euclidean has also donated money to help Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Before joining Merrill Lynch in 2013, Chhabra was CIO at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he worked with the board of trustees’ investment committee, headed by Simons. The Princeton, New Jersey-based institute supports research in the sciences and humanities. Chhabra also worked for Merrill Lynch from 2001 to 2007, serving as head of wealth management strategies and analytics.

His investing philosophy is detailed in “The Aspirational Investor,” a book he wrote this year that discusses how investing is about achieving goals rather than returns.

Bank of America said last week that Chris Hyzy will lead a newly combined chief investment office for global wealth and investment management that oversees U.S. Trust and Merrill Lynch units.

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