2 of 40 James Simons
Firm: Renaissance Technologies
Headquarters: East Setauket, N.Y.
Earnings: $2.1 Billion
The “Quant King” retired from his $20 billion hedge fund firm, Renaissance Technologies, in 2010, but he continues to play a role at the firm and enjoy its spoils. The firm’s funds earned net returns as high as 33% in 2011. The MIT grad started his career as a theoretical mathematician and was a code breaker for the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War. He later was head of the math department at SUNY-Stony Brook. In 1982 he founded Renaissance, which is based in East Setauket, N.Y. The fund uses computer modeling to find inefficiencies in highly liquid securities. Simons has shown a preference for hiring PhDs over MBAs. He chairs Math for America and supports autism research.