From Free Exchange:
Luck”, James Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund, once said, “plays a meaningful role in everyone’s lives.” Mr Simons, a 71-year-old former university professor and a celebrated mathematician, has been blessed with the stuff. His flagship fund, Medallion, has had average annual gains of more than 35% for 20 years. Last year he was named the best-paid hedge-fund manager in America by Alpha, a hedge-fund magazine, reportedly earning $2.5 billion. Medallion gained 80% last year, and this year is up a further 12%.
Where other funds might recruit employees with financial or economic backgrounds and have them test hypotheses against data, Renaissance employeed thinkers who had spent the bulk of their career in non-economic analytical fields, like mathematics, physics, and astronomy. Once at Renaissance, those thinkers would build data-processing models without any preconceptions about what should cause what, when. The firm's advantage is in its willingness to trade what doesn't necessarily make sense.
Read it here: 'If it works, bet it'