If you have any kind of Wall Street credential on your resume, you probably won’t get hired at Renaissance Technologies or be able to own a piece of its flagship fund, Medallion. So who does this 300 person, Long Island fund hire? Astrophysicists, ex-IBMers, PhDs and assorted other folks who create Feynman diagrams for fun. And why do they want to work there? How about annualized returns of nearly 80% before fees for about two decades. Oh, and the fees? When the fund stopped accepting money from outsiders (only Renaissance employees are allowed to be invested in Medallion), the fund’s fees were hiked from five percent of assets and 20 percent of profits to five percent and 44 percent. Given that computing power is becoming cheaper each year and an increasing number of competitors are emerging on the horizon, how does the fund preserve its edge? That’s the billion (or shall we say $10 billion) question.
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