Jim Simons may be one of the greatest modern-day moneymakers, yet you may have never heard of him. The mathematician has revolutionized the stock market with his numbers-only approach by removing all emotions from investment decisions. To Simmons, the famous saying that “Numbers never lie” held a great deal of value. Jim Simon and his firm Renaissance Technologies would go on to do wonders. This formula proved to be so successful that it gave him monumental returns, putting him ahead of the likes of Warren Buffet and George Soros. This article will look into the details of what led to this success and how it changed the way we perceive investment decisions.
We keep hearing about young entrepreneurs dropping out of college to start multi-million-dollar companies. This was not the case for Jim Simons and Renaissance Technologies. He started his entrepreneurial journey at 40 years in 1978, having just quit academia. A brilliant mathematician, he figured that he could use his talents better in financial speculation. He believed that he could build numerical models that would allow him to detect profitability patterns in the stock market. Based on this idea, he set out in 1978 with his own investing company, calling it “Monemetrics”. This combined the words “money” and “econometrics”, claiming that financial data would be analyzed to make economic gain. Three years later, this name would change to the one we know today: Renaissance Technologies.
A huge loss in 1984 led Simons to further evaluate his methods. His partner, Leonard Baum, had lost the firm a lot of money, forcing Simons so automatically sell his shares as per their clause, ending the partnership. Simons would go on to develop a new formula based on new algorithms and pricing data to conquer financial markets. This approach by Jim Simmons led to the Quant Revolution, completely changing the way investors viewed the Stock Market.
The Jim Simons inspired Quant revolution had but one aim: remove emotion from investing decision. These quantitative models were based on historical data going back to the 1700s, detecting even the slightest patterns of profitability. As per Greg Zuckerman’s book “The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution”, Simon’s methods are based on pure data to remove “behavioral biases”. According to Simons, traditional methods of investing based on intuition or analysis of balance sheets were outdated. Instead, he believed in creating models and codes that would analyze all these trends and data almost instantaneously.
Simons’ methods soon became the norm of the market. Quantitative-based investing now accounts for the largest portion of daily stock trading, but few firms do it on the same scale as Renaissance Technologies. Jim Simons’ Hedge Fund is a market leader in this regard. Today, most trading is machine and algorithm-based. However, some claim that this quantitative method is unfair and non-transparent, with organizations like the SEC ensuring this is not the case.
Jim Simons and Renaissance Technologies have had incredible success in the stock market as a result of their quantitative approach. As per Greg Zuckerman, since 1998 Renaissance’s flagship Medallion Fund has returned 66% annually, or 39% after fees. Simons no longer oversees this fund, but plays an active role in the company, nonetheless. Renaissance has grown its portfolio more than tenfold over the last 15 years. As of June 2019, the company managed $65 billion worth of Hedge funds, making them one of the largest hedge fund firms in the world.
In a world where Big Data is on the rise, one can not help but admire Jim Simon’s and Renaissance Technologies’ approach. They were looking at numbers and predicting patterns much before anyone else thought of it. A market disruptor in his own right, at 82 years of age, Jim Simons might just be the smartest billionaire in the world.
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