Renaissance Technologies, founded by ex-Stony Brook professor James Simons, saw...

Renaissance Technologies, founded by ex-Stony Brook professor James Simons, saw a 35 percent return for its Institutional Equities investors in 2011, according to an HSBC Private Bank analysis. (Oct. 26, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

A private bank analysis says Renaissance Technologies, the East Setauket investment company, led the pack with the most profitable hedge fund for 2011, several published reports said Monday.

Founded by former Stony Brook University math professor James Simons, the firm's Institutional Equities Fund, a so-called quant (or quantitative) fund, generates investment choices through computer models.

The analysis was compiled by HSBC Private Bank, several reports said.

"Head of the table is Jim Simons' Renaissance Institutional Equities, which gave investors a return of 34.66 percent, after a bad run through 2009 and 2010," the Investment Europe website said. The website gave no further details, saying, "The report is not published and is for private circulation among clients of HSBC Private Banking only."

However, at least partial confirmation came last month from the Reuters news agency, which said it had seen HSBC's numbers as of Dec. 9, at which time "the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund had advanced 32 percent."

Overall, most hedge funds suffered in 2011, the Investment Europe website said, with many respected firms deep in the red by more than 40 percent.

Simons has retired but remains active at the hedge fund and at a private foundation he created. The Simons Foundation last month donated $150 million to Stony Brook University.

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