James Simons, the founder of East Setauket-based Renaissance Technologies LLC, has tied for the top spot in the yearly ranking by Institutional Investor’s Alpha of the world’s top-earning hedge fund managers.
Simons and Kenneth Griffin, founder and chief executive of Chicago-based Citadel, each made an estimated $1.7 billion in 2015. For Simons, that represented a jump of more than 40 percent from 2014, when he made $1.2 billion and was ranked second on the list behind Griffin’s $1.3 billion.
Renaissance Technologies did not return a call seeking comment from Simons.
Rounding out the top five earners on the list were Raymond Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, David Tepper of Appaloosa Management and Israel Englander of Millennium Management. Each of the top five made more than $1 billion for the year, Alpha estimated, and the total earnings of the top 10 managers exceeded $10 billion. Alpha provides news and analysis about the hedge fund industry.
Simons, who was a code-breaker for the Pentagon and former chairman of Stony Brook University’s math department, was the only Long Islander among the top 10 earning hedge fund managers.
Simons also was listed as Long Island’s richest person, according to the Forbes 400 list published in September. The magazine estimated his fortune at $14 billion, making him the 32nd richest American.
At Renaissance, Simons was a pioneer in developing computerized systems that trade at high speed, a style that has been adopted widely among hedge funds. He left day-to-day management of Renaissance in 2009, where he remains chairman of the board.
He is an active philanthropist through the Simons Foundation. Simons is founder and chairman of Math for America, a nonprofit that seeks to improve math education in public schools.