- A secretive $120 billion hedge fund founded by a Cold War codebreaker has vastly outperformed Warren Buffett over the past three decades.
- A dollar invested in Renaissance Technologies’ flagship Medallion fund in 1988 would reportedly be worth $27,000 net of fees in 2018, dwarfing a $107 return from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway over the same period.
- Scroll down to see Renaissance’s 10 biggest holdings.
- View Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A secretive $120 billion hedge fund, founded by a Cold War codebreaker and math professor, vastly outperformed Warren Buffett over the past 30 years.
Renaissance Technologies, which was created by Jim Simons, counts Chipotle and Facebook among its largest investments. It recorded an annualized, post-fee return of 39% at its flagship Medallion fund between 1988 and 2018, according to “The Man Who Solved The Market: How Jim Simons launched the Quant Revolution,” a new book by Greg Zuckerman.
Medallion’s remarkable performance means a dollar invested in the fund in 1988 would have grown to about $27,000 net of fees by the end of 2018, dwarfing a $107 return from Berkshire Hathaway and a $20 total return from the benchmark index.
While the Medallion fund is restricted to Renaissance employees, the hedge fund’s remarkable track record means its trading patterns are worth noting. Its 10 biggest investments, based on a SEC filing for the quarter ended 30 September, are listed below.
2. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Renaissance has a $1.61 billion stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill. The fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain, which has more than 2,500 outlets, has largely recovered from a series of health scares a few years ago.
Simons and his team have a $1.56 billion stake in Verisign, a network infrastructure group that operates the registry for domains including .com and .net.
Courtesy of Celgene
Renaissance has amassed a $1.54 billion stake in Celgene, a biotech firm that develops medicines to treat cancers and inflammatory disorders. Celgene is set to be acquired by Bristol Myers-Squibb, the hedge fund’s largest holding.
5. Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a Danish pharmaceutical company that makes medicines for diabetes, hemophilia, growth disorders, obesity, and other chronic conditions.
Renaissance holds a $1.28 billion stake in the company.
6. Palo Alto Networks
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Renaissance holds a $1.19 billion stake in Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity group offering firewalls, network security, cloud-based threat analysis, and other software tools to businesses.
Biogen develops treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases. Renaissance has $983 million worth of Biogen shares.
8. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Renaissance has a $982 million stake in Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a biotech firm that makes drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, HIV, hepatitis C, cancer, and other ailments.
9. Gilead Sciences
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Gilead Sciences makes antivirus drugs to treat HIV, hepatitis, influenza, and other maladies. Renaissance has a $934 million stake in the biopharmaceuticals group.
Renaissance has amassed $880 million worth of Facebook stock. The social-media titan owns WhatsApp and Instagram as well as Oculus, which makes virtual-reality headsets.