• General
  • May 11, 2024
  • 3 minutes read

Wall Street Tycoon Jim Simons Dies At 86

Jim Simons, a revered mathematician and Wall Street Investor, passed away on Friday at his home in New York City.…

Jim Simons

Jim Simons, a revered mathematician and Wall Street Investor, passed away on Friday at his home in New York City. He died at the age of 86, his eponymous Simons Foundation announced.

Simons is best known for founding Renaissance Technologies (RenTech), one of the world’s most successful hedge funds. He earned a mathematics PhD at the age of 23 and joined the faculty at Stony Brook University some years later. Simons led the mathematics department at Stony Brook University, a public university in New York, and is credited with several breakthrough studies in the field.

After a successful career as a mathematician, Simons shifted his focus to finance. Aged 40, he launched Renaissance Technologies (RenTech) to trade based on mathematical and statistical analysis, i.e., quantitative investing. Over time, Renaissance posted stellar returns and netted Simons a fortune.

Renaissance’s flagship Medallion Fund is known for having the best track record on Wall Street, returning 62% annualized before fees and 37% annualized net of fees from 1988 to 2021. Such eye-popping returns made Simons a legend in Wall Street circles and an enigma driven by Renaissance’s secrecy. Little is known about the fund and its investing strategies despite managing over $100bn of assets for clients.

Renaissance is staffed mainly by specialists with non-financial backgrounds: mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, statisticians, and other quantitative fields. Simons retired from the firm in 2010 but maintained a non-executive chairman role. With a fortune topping $20bn, he turned his focus towards the Simons Foundation, a private non-profit organization supporting math and science research.

Simons gave away billions of dollars to philanthropic causes. Last year, he donated $500mn to Stony Brook University, marking the largest-ever unrestricted gift to an American public college. Simons gave more than $1bn to Stony Brook University over his lifetime.

However, Simons’ career wasn’t without controversy. In 2021, he and other Renaissance executives agreed to pay the IRS $7bn in back taxes to end a tax dispute. The IRS accused the hedge fund of disguising day-to-day stock trades as long-term investments to reduce tax liabilities, saving $6.8bn in taxes over a decade. Simons and colleagues agreed to pay the back taxes plus interest and penalties. Simons also agreed to pay another $670mn separate from the group settlement.


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

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