Home Hedge Funds Jim Simons, Legendary Founder of Renaissance Technologies, Dead at 86

Jim Simons, Legendary Founder of Renaissance Technologies, Dead at 86


Jim Simons.
Sylvain Gaboury/Getty Images

  • Jim Simons, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, has died.
  • The legendary investor was 86.
  • Simons founded Renaissance Technologies and was a codebreaker, mathematician, and philanthropist.

Jim Simons, the legendary billionaire hedge-fund manager who founded the wildly successful Renaissance Technologies, died on Friday, his foundation announced on its website.

He was 86 years old.

Simons was a titan of investing and the 49th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $31.8 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Before he took Wall Street by storm, Simons made a career as an award-winning mathematician and a codebreaker for the National Security Agency. His work in pattern recognition and topology would later help form the bedrock of string theory in quantum mechanics.

Simons founded what would become Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund specializing in quantitative models, in 1978.

For over four decades, Renaissance has been one of the most successful hedge funds in history, boasting staggering 66% pre-fee annualized returns over a 30-year period.

His fund’s biggest current holdings include investments in Uber, Nvidia, Meta, Amazon, Tesla, and Novo Nordisk.

In Gregory Zuckerman’s book “The Man Who Solved the Market,” Simons said he got into investing after getting tired of academia.

His strategy was unlike anything on Wall Street at the time. Simons used the same pattern-recognition analysis that propelled his academic career to scour financial data for trends.

Simons’ algorithmic approach paid off with huge profits. He also put his massive wealth to use as a prolific philanthropist, founding the Simons Foundation with his wife, Marilyn, to promote science and mathematics, and donating billions to various causes.

Simons also founded Math for America, a nonprofit supporting STEM education in secondary schools, and has donated millions to leading universities, including his alma maters, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.

“Jim was an exceptional leader who did transformative work in mathematics and developed a world-leading investment company,” David Spergel, the president of the Simons Foundation, said in a statement.

Simons is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, his foundation said.

Correction: May 10, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated the year that Renaissance Technologies was founded. The firm, which was originally called Monemetrics, was founded in 1978, not 1982. Simons also worked in topology, not topography.

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