Think it’s too late? The world’s greatest fund manager didn’t make money until he was 52

Jim Simons had modest wealth at 52; now he’s worth $ 23 billion

Jim Simons

Financial markets — and risk taking in general — are largely the domain of the young. Early adulthood is the time to swing for the fences while middle age is a time for prudence, perhaps risking a manageable part of the nest egg.

Yet that’s not always true. It’s particularly untrue of some of the world’s greatest investors.

Among them is Jim Simons, the king of quants. Yesterday Gregory Zuckerman published “The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution.”

It details how a 40-year old math professor walked away from a job at Stony Brook University to try trading currencies. He had no idea what he was doing but raised $ 4 million with a few partners. He recruited renowned mathematicians to help him. It didn’t work and losses topped $ 1 million.

“If you make money, you feel like a genius,” he told a friend. “If you lose, you’re a dope.”

He gathered more data and persevered through the 1980s with a mixed record. In 1989 he lost 4%.

Finally, Simons along with recently recruited colleagues Henry Laufer and Elwyn Berlekamp, started to focus on short-term patterns — Monday’s price action often followed Friday’s, while Tuesday saw reversions to earlier trends.

It worked and the Medallion fund gained 55.9% in 1990. It hasn’t stopped. His fund as generated average returns of 66%, racking up gains of $ 100 billion. No other fund or manager is even close. A $ 10,000 investment 30 years ago excluding fees would be worth $ 40 billion today. Even after fees, it would be worth $ 195 million.

How the fund makes money is one of the world’s most-closely guarded secrets but it’s story isn’t. Simonds certainly had mathematical talents but he know almost nothing about markets when he started out at age 40 and managed to amass one of the world’s great fortunes.

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Paralympics: Malaysia stripped of swim worlds after Israeli ban

Paralympics: Malaysia stripped of swim worlds after Israeli ban Paralympics: Malaysia stripped of swim worlds after Israeli ban

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Sunday stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 world para swimming championships after the country banned Israeli athletes from participating.

The championships, a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, had been scheduled for Kuching between July 29 and Aug. 4.

The IPC said a new venue would be sought for the same dates, although there might have to be some flexibility in light of the circumstances.

"All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination," said IPC president Andrew Parsons in a statement after a meeting of the IPC governing board in London.

"When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new Championships host."

Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, announced this month that it would bar Israelis from any event held in the Southeast Asia nation.

Israel had condemned the ban as ‘shameful’ and said the decision was inspired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s "rabid anti-Semitism".

"This is a victory of values over hatred and bigotry, a strong statement in favor of freedom and equality. Thank you @Paralympics for your brave decision," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon on Twitter.

There was no immediate response from the Malaysian authorities.

Mahathir, 93, has for decades been accused of anti-Semitism for his attacks against Jews. In a BBC interview last October, he described Jews as "hook-nosed" and blamed them for the troubles in the Middle East.

Some 600 swimmers from 60 countries had been expected to compete in the championships in the eastern state of Sarawak, with more than 160 titles to be won.

The IPC said all potential replacement hosts were asked to express an interest by Feb. 11.

"The Paralympic Movement has, and always will be, motivated by a desire to drive inclusion, not exclusion," said Parsons in the statement.

"Regardless of the countries involved in this matter, the IPC would take the same decision again if it was to face a similar situation involving different countries."

He said that when Malaysia was awarded the championships in 2017, the IPC had been given assurances that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate with their safety assured.

"Since then, there has been a change of political leadership and the new Malaysian government has different ideas," said Parsons.

"Politics and sport are never a good mix and we are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia."

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