Jim Simons, billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist, dies at 86

Jim Simons, the math professor who became one of the most successful hedge fund managers in history, died on Friday at the age of 86, according to his foundation.

Simons, a prolific philanthropist who has given away more than $1 billion to Stony Brook University, passed away in New York City on Friday, the Simons Foundation announced on its web site.

He is best known for using advanced mathematical models and algorithms to guide investment strategy while at the helm of Renaissance Technologies, the Long Island-based hedge fund which routinely generated billions of dollars in returns.

“There is one GOAT [greatest of all time]. His name was Jim Simons,” Clifford Asness, managing and founding principal of AQR Capital Management told the Wall Street Journal.

“That he was also a nice, kind, generous and caring man just makes it that much more amazing.”

Jim Simons, the billionaire hedge fund manager and math professor, died in New York on Friday at age 86. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Simons used a strategy of determining the probabilities of a stock performance and balancing the portfolio accordingly.

Medallion Fund, which Renaissance Technologies established in 1988, is considered one of the most successful funds ever created — generating an annualized average return of 66%.

Between 1988 and 2000, Renaissance Technologies raked in more than $100 billion in profits.

“I developed a view that markets are not random, and [were] to some extent predictable,” he had told The Journal. “There were statistical anomalies that could be exploited.”

Simons is also known for being one of the business world’s most generous philanthropists — having donated billions to causes dear to him such as math and scientific research as well as the arts.

Over a 10-year period, Simons gave Stony Brook nearly $600 million through his foundation. In June of last year, the Simons Foundation announced a $500 million gift to Stony Brook University’s endowment — the largest unrestricted endowment gift to a US institute of higher education ever.

Since 1983, Simons’ charity has committed more than $1.2 billion to the school.

Jim Simons and Marilyn Simons, who have an estimated net worth of $30.7 billion, have deep ties to the university.

Simons is known as one of the business world's most generous philanthropists -- having donated more than $1 billion to Stony Brook University.
Simons is known as one of the business world’s most generous philanthropists — having donated more than $1 billion to Stony Brook University. James Messerschmidt for NY Post

Jim Simons was chairman of its mathematics department from 1968 to 1978, and Marilyn Simons earned two degrees there: a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1984.

Jim Simons, who joined Stony Brook as chair of the math department in 1968, said the Long Island-based university “gave me a chance to lead, and so it has been deeply rewarding to watch the university grow and flourish even more.”

Simons and his wife started the Simons Foundation in 1994 to support research in mathematics and the basic sciences.

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

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