Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 49 James Simons $25.2B

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 managed about $50 billion of assets at the start of 2022. Its signature Medallion fund has delivered average annual returns of about 40% since 1988 and has paid him about $12 billion in cash distributions since 2006.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change -$275M ( -1.1%)
Biggest asset Cash
Country / Region United States
Age 84
Industry Finance
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

James Simons's net worth of $25.2B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
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. Renaissance had about $50 billion in assets under management in January 2022, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Medallion's quantitative investment strategies have delivered annual returns of about 40% 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. It was closed to outside investors in 1993 and is owned entirely by employees, according to documents released by the SEC, Department of Labor and Senate. Simons and three partners own about 70% of Renaissance, according to a 2014 Senate investigation.

His stake in Medallion is based on the top end of the 25-to-49.9% range disclosed in SEC filings from 1997 through 2009. 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.

In September 2021, Renaissance Technologies agreed to a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service that involved about $7 billion in taxes, fees and penalties, including a $670 million penalty payment by Simons. It centered on the payment of long-term versus short-term capital gains tax in the firm's Medallion Fund. Because the short-term rate was already applied to Bloomberg's calculation of Simons' income from Medallion, only the $670 million penalty has been subtracted from his cash holdings.

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% return net of fees.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Renaissance, declined to comment on Simons's net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 4/25/1938
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: University of California Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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 US 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 its money across several funds and Medallion, which caps its assets at about $10 billion, has delivered annual returns of 40 percent after fees.He stepped down as Chairman of Renaissance Technologies in January 2021.

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.