Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#76 Jim Simons $15.7B

Random fact: Father, Matthew Simons, owned a shoe factory.

Overview

Simons is the founder of Renaissance Technologies, a Setauket, New York-based hedge fund that has $42 billion of assets under management. Its signature Medallion fund has delivered average annual returns of about 40 percent since 1988 and has paid him more than $6.8 billion in cash distributions since 2006.

As of Sept. 21, 2017:
Last change No change
YTD change +$170M (+1.1%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship United States
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Jim Simons's net worth of $15.7B can buy ...

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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

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Confidence rating:

The majority of Simons's fortune is derived from the Medallion Fund, the signature investment vehicle of Setauket, New York-based Renaissance Technologies. The methodology used to determine his net worth was changed on April 24, 2017, based on a review of federal disclosures and other documents. Medallion's quantitative investment strategies have delivered annual returns of about 40 percent since 1988, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Renaissance caps Medallion’s assets at around $10 billion and distributes profits every six months, according to a person familiar with the company. It was closed to outside investors in 1993 and is owned entirely by employees, according to documents released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Labor and Senate. Simons and three partners own about 70 percent of Renaissance, according to a 2014 Senate investigation.

He’s collected about $6.8 billion in distributions since 2006. His stake in Medallion is based on the top end of the 25-to-49.9 percent range disclosed in SEC filings from 1997 through 2009. The fund charges fees of as much as 5 percent of managed assets and 44 percent of profits, according to a March 30, 2017 ADV filing. He has also received about $625 million in RenTec dividends since 2006. The highest federal and New York state short-term capital gains tax rates are applied, and no market appreciation is included. Known charitable and political giving is reduced from the total.

Renaissance is valued at $10 billion, according to an analyst with a history of valuing hedge funds. It’s valued using a multiple of nine times earnings (higher than stakes sold by other asset managers with lower returns) and assumes a 30 percent return net of fees (lower than Medallion's historical performance).

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Renaissance, said Simons declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 4/25/1938
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1961, Mathematics, University of California Berkeley, PhD Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bachelor's Degree

James Harris Simons was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1938, the only child of Marcia and Matthew Simons. His father was a shoe factory owner. After graduating from high school, Simons enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He finished his bachelor's degree in mathematics in three years, and went on to earn his doctorate in math at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1961. He returned to MIT for a three-year teaching position, leaving after one year to become an assistant math professor at Harvard University.

Simons became a part-time codebreaker for the National Security Agency in 1964. He was fired in 1967, after sending a letter to the New York Times that criticized the U.S. army's involvement in the Vietnam War. He was hired as head of the math division at Stony Brook University in East Setauket, New York.

He left Stony Brook in 1977 to start Monemetrics, a quantitative trading firm that focused on commodities. He changed its name to Renaissance Technologies five years later. He created his flagship Medallion fund in 1988. The fund, which is now almost exclusively run for the benefit of Renaissance employees, uses quantitative modeling and trading algorithms to invest in global markets, according to a Nov. 25, 2016 Bloomberg News report. Renaissance manages more than $20 billion across several funds and Medallion, which caps its assets at about $10 billion, has delivered annual returns of 40 percent after fees.

Simons has been married twice. He had three children with his first wife, Barbara, and two with his second wife, Marilyn. Two of his sons died in accidents; one bicycle riding, another swimming in Indonesia.

Simons plans to give the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes and signed the Giving Pledge in 2010.

Milestones
  • 1938 Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, only child to a shoe factory owner.
  • 1958 Completes bachelor's degree in mathematics at MIT in three years.
  • 1961 Receives doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1977 Leaves Stony Brook to start quantitative trading firm Monemetrics.
  • 1982 Renaissance Technologies founded.
  • 1988 Renaissance's Medallion fund begins trading.
  • 2005 Starts Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund, invests in U.S. stocks.
  • 2012 Renaissance Institutional Diversified Alpha Fund starts trading.