James Harris SIMONS

Primary Position Chairman Age 78
Primary Company Renaissance Technologies Birthday Apr 1938
Estimated Net Worth At least $14.3 billion Residences New York, New York, United States
Setauket, New York, United States
Source Self-Made
Brookline, Massachusetts, United States
Religion Jewish
Ethnicity Caucasian
Alternative Names Jim Simons
Quant King
Marital Status Married


After graduation, Simons taught mathematics at MIT and Harvard University. In 1961, he and a few classmates from MIT invested in a Colombian floor tile and pipe company. In 1964, during the Vietnam War, became a Code Breaker for the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1968, joined Stony Brook University and served as the Chairman of its Mathematics Department. In 1973, the Columbian floor tile and pipe company was sold. In 1978, Simons left Stony Brook University and started Monemetric. He formed a private investment fund called Limroy. In 1982, Monemetric was renamed Renaissance Technologies. In 1988, Simons decided to launch a fund that concentrated on pure trading. He shut Limroy and launched Medallion Fund in March 1988, which concentrated on futures trading. Simons served as the CEO of Renaissance Technologies until 2009. He currently serves as its Chairman.

Education History

Institution Name Qualification Name Education Type Start Date End Date
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Bachelor's degree Undergraduate 1955 1958
University of California, Berkeley Ph.D. Graduate 1961
Newton High School Diploma High School 1954

Interesting Facts

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents, Simons owns between 25% to 50% of Renaissance Technologies. In 2006, through performance fee of Renaissance Technologies' funds RIEF and Medallion Fund, Simons reportedly earned between $375 million and $750 million. From 1989 to 2006, Medallion Fund had returns of 38.5%.
In 1974, Simons' most influential research called the Chern-Simons Invariants is used globally, particularly in theoretical physics. In 1975, he received the American Mathematical Society's "Veblen Prize in Geometry."
Medley Partners manages private equity investments of the Simons family among others. Medley Partners was founded in 2004; it invests in private equity funds, including buyout, growth equity, venture capital, real estate and distressed in the U.S., Europe and Asia and also participates in co-investment opportunities.
Silver Stream Aviation, where Simons is Managing Member owns a 2013 Gulfstream G-650 jet, serial number 6048 and registration number N773MJ.
In August 2005, Simons started Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund (RIEF) which invests in the U.S. stocks. Renaissance Technologies manages a number of other funds in various markets, including mortgage-backed securities and funds of external managed funds like the Renaissance Return Fund. Simons also started Renaissance Institutional Futures Fund (RIFF) to invest in commodities.
In 1964, Simons joined the Institute for Defense Analyses, a non-profit research organization that did code breaking for the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War. He was fired after making critical comments to Newsweek about the war.
According to SEC reports, Renaissance Technologies reportedly raised questions about Bernie Madoff as early as 2003. Simons reportedly met Madoff through business relationships in Long Island, New York formed in the 1980s. A subsequent SEC investigation revealed that in internal emails between Renaissance Technologies executives, including Nathanial and Simons, mentioned strange occurrences including unusually low fees and market rumors that Madoff cherry-picked profitable trades for certain clients. Soon, Renaissance Technologies became increasingly distrustful of Madoff and withdrew money, while Simons reportedly urged other investors he knew to withdraw.
In October 2013, Simons and his wife, Marilyn Simons were awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for their philanthropic deeds.
In 1989, Renaissance Technologies started three computer-based funds Medallion Fund, Nova Fund and the Equimetrics Fund. Medallion Fund initially was specialized in currencies, futures and commodities, and later expanded to equities and options. In 1993, Medallion Fund reportedly managed $280 million. In 1997, the Nova Fund was merged into Medallion. In 2002, Equimetrics was also merged into Medallion Fund.
Simons loves mathematics. In an interview he said, "I wanted to do mathematics from the time I was 3, I would think about numbers and shapes". He reportedly celebrated his 60th birthday with a geometry symposium. While remembering his childhood enthusiasm for mathematics, Simons said, "I wasn't the fastest guy in the world. I wouldn't have done well in an Olympiad or a math contest. But I like to ponder. And pondering things, just sort of thinking about it and thinking about it, turns out to be a pretty good approach."
Meritage Fund is a multi-family office which is managed by Simons' son, Nathaniel Simons. It reportedly manages $8 billion. The fund manages the money of Simons and senior executives of Renaissance Technologies. The fund was part of Renaissance Technologies' flagship, Medallion Fund, which was started by Simons in March 1988.
Simons previously served on the boards of various firms which appear to be former portfolio companies of Renaissance Technologies, include Numar, Segue Software and Cylink.
In 2012, Meritage reportedly provided $150 million in seed money to help establish long/short technology hedge fund Lamond Capital Partners.
In 2012, Meritage reportedly acquired Columbia Distributing, Portland-based beverage distributor with 2010 sales of at least $700 million. The price of the deal was undisclosed but media reports estimate the price as more than $500 million.
Renaissance Technologies uses quantitative modeling and computer algorithms to determine investment strategy. In an interview, Simons admitted that he prefers to hire Ph.D.s instead of MBAs, "We don't hire people from business schools. We don't hire people from Wall Street, We hire people who have done good science."
In 2011, through Meritage Fund, Simons invested in Hutchin Hill Capital. Meritage Fund made a $300 million allocation to Hutchin Hill Capital. As of April 30th, 2011, Hutchin Hill Capital had annualized returns of 13.82%. Hutchin Hill passes through some fund expenses and reportedly charges a 2% management fee and a 15% performance fee.
Simons was recommended by his high school advisor to gain admission into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S., where he graduated in three years at the age of 20. He also later received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in three years and returned to MIT as a faculty member by the time he was 23.
Simons has lost two of his five children. He had two sons, Nathaniel and Paul, with his first wife, Barbara. With his second wife, Marilyn, Simons had Elizabeth, Audrey and Nick. Paul Simons, an avid bike rider, died in 1996 in a car accident when he was 34. Simons' philanthropic foundation, Paul Simons Foundation is named after Paul. His youngest son, Nick, drowned in Bali in 2003, when he was 24.
One of the things Simons is most proud of is a framed picture of equations known as "Chern-Simons", named after a paper he wrote with Shiing-Shen Chern, a prominent geometer. The equations define many esoteric aspects of modern physics, including advanced theories of how invisible fields like those of gravity interact with matter to produce everything from superstrings to black holes. The picture is hung on his office wall.

Interests, Passion, Hobbies

Hobby Name Description
Mathematics He received his Bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958 and University of California, Berkeley in 1961, respectively.
Travel Simons has been known to fly his employees and their families for weekend trips; reportedly he once flew more than 300 people to Bermuda.
Philanthropy Generous philanthropist is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Simons Foundation and the Co-Founder and President of Paul Simons Foundation. Foundations primarily support educational related causes. Simons has contributed more than $1.2 billion to the Simons Foundation. Simons supports teachers and scholars. Through Math for America, Simons donates $15,000 a year to deserving public school math and science teachers across the New York to make teaching a viable, rewarding and respected career choice.
Art Avid art lover, his office is decorated with paintings of ancient Greeks like Archimedes and Socrates teaching mathematics. Simons reportedly has a painting of a lynx killing a rabbit. He said, "I used to have it in my house... My wife didn't particularly like it."
Aviation Silver Stream Aviation, where Simons is Managing Member, owns a 2013 Gulfstream G-650 jet, serial number 6048 and the registration number N773MJ.
Politics Registered Democrat; in 2012, donated at least $2 million to Barack Obama's Priorities USA Action.
Boating - Yachts He reportedly owns a 219-foot yacht, Archimedes. Appears to own his yacht through his family office, Euclidean Capital.
Science Simons hires scientists instead of MBAs; reportedly all job candidates must lecture the entire firm on their scientific research. His favorite topics include gene puzzles, the origins of life, the roots of autism, math and computer frontiers, basic physics and the structure of the early cosmos.
Smoking Simons appears to have quit smoking in 2009. In the past, he was a chain smoker who reportedly smoked up to three packs a day.


Giving Profile
Generous philanthropist whose lifetime giving exceeds $1.2 billion. In 1994, Simons and his wife, Marilyn Simons, established the Simons Foundation, which primarily supports educational related causes. Simons serves as Chairman of the Simons Foundation. In 2013, the foundation had assets exceeding $2.1 billion and donated more than $184 million in 2012. In 2005, Simons co-founded the Nick Simons Foundation in memory of his son, Nick, who died on a leisure trip to Bali, Indonesia in 2003. In 2006, Simons and his wife, Marilyn Simons established the Nick Simons Institute, which trains rural healthcare workers in Nepal, Kathmandu. Simons serves as the President of the Nick Simons Foundation. In 2014, the foundation had assets exceeding $60 million and donated more than $2.6 million; gives primarily to humanitarian and social causes. Recipients include: Nick Simons Institute, Patan Hospital, American Himalayan Foundation and Himalayan Cataract Project. The couple also co-founded the Paul Simons Foundation, named after their son, Paul, whom they lost in a car accident in 1996. Serves as President of the Paul Simons Foundation. In 2014, the foundation had assets exceeding $49 million and donated more than $1.3 million; gives primarily to social and educational causes. Notable recipient is the Avalon Park and Preserve. The couple funded the Avalon Park, a 130-acre nature preserve at the Stony Brook University through the Simons Foundation. In 2004, Simons founded Math for America, a non-profit organization established to improve mathematics and science education. Simons has also donated at least $30 million to autism research; reportedly the Simons Foundation has pledged to invest $100 million more into autism research. The Simons Foundation has made several gifts to Cornell University; supported the Cornell University Library's arXiv program, which is an open-access digital archive of scientific papers and by providing grants to faculty. Simons has established the "Simons Investigators Award", which is given by the Simons Foundation to encourage scientists. In 2011, the couple donated at least $11 million to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, supporting autism causes. In 2011, Simons and Charles Simonyi donated at least $100 million to Institute for Advanced Study through the Simons Foundation. In 2013, Cornell University established the "James H. and Marilyn H. Simons Graduate Fellowship", in honor of the Simons, who made a commitment of $2.5 million through the Simons Foundation. In 2013, the Simons Foundation donated to the Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

Clubs & Boards

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Known Associates

Total known associates: 74. Total known associates net worth: $30.8 billion. To view details, sign up for Wealth-X Professional or Contact Us.

Family Details

Political Interests

Party Affiliation Democratic Party Political Profile Generous political giver primarily supports Democratic candidates and causes; lifetime giving exceeds $17 million. Top recipients include: Timothy Bishop, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harry Reid, Steve J. Israel, the Priorities USA Action and the Senate Majority PAC.