One of these men has a gun and the other can bench 350. Consider not giving them shit about the returns.

Now that Jim Simons has officially retired (he announced his intent to do so last October but he’s been saying that since 2002 and every time he got his foot out the door they pulled him back in, like the siren song of a carton of Pall Malls), it’s time to introduce the world to the new team. Bob Mercer and Peter Brown (pictured) are running the good ship Renaissance now.

The duo, who have known each other since they met doing “code-breaking research for the Defense Department,” and came over to RenTec together in 1993, claim that in Jimbo’s day to day absence (he’s still chairman of the place but will be devoting more time to charity and his 219-foot yacht, Archimedes) they won’t be changing much out in East Setauket, though that’s not entirely true. Yes, the computer servers that run the trading operations will retain their nicknames– Laddersnake, Howler3 and Neon– and yes, the whole operation is still just a front for Long Island’s first tobacco farm. But Brown and Mercer are seriously considering getting rid of RIFF (Renaissance Institutional Futures Fund) and RIEF (Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund), on account of their knack for making a lot less money than Medallion.

Like, a lot less (the flagship has seen average returns of about 45% a year, after fees, since its inception in 1988 and has only lost money in one quarter since 1995, when it was down 0.5% in Q1 of 1999. RIFF and RIEF have fared significantly worse, and assets, which in 2007 were a combined $30 billion have dropped to $6 billion due to withdrawals). The fact that whereas Medallion is almost entirely employee money, and the shittier two funds (RIEF lost 6% last year and 16% in 2008) are open to outside investors has caused a bit of stress for new management. “Other people’s money is like a lever on your anxiety,” says Mr. Brown. So, yes, they’re probably going to put R ‘n R out to pasture but nothing’s for sure just yet. While we wait and see, we might as well get to know Brown and Mercer a bit better. Scott Patterson and Jenny Strasburg recently hopped on the LIRR and spent some time with the two. Here’s what they found out.

Bob is 63 and politically conservative. He got his Ph.D in computer science from the University of Illinois. He whistles during meetings and like other plays with model trains in his basement. He doesn’t talk to employees unless he absolutely has to, and he’s got a bag of SHHH with your name on it (“I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody,” he says.) Zip the lip, or risk getting shot in the face (Bob is a card carrying member of the NRA).

Pete is 55 and has a Ph.D in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. When he first joined Team RenTec, he rode a unicycle around the workplace to save time. He’s politically liberal, loves to chat and is very competitive. Make sure to bring your Champion sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off because Pedro is known to challenge people to “feats of strength” in the office gym.

Pioneering Fund Stages Second Act [WSJ]

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Comments (51)

  1. Posted by guest | March 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Bold. But if they do that, where will they book all the losing trades?

  2. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Calling bullshit on the bench. 350 is an atypical total, nobody tossing that weight around takes the time to put the 2.5lbs plates on the ends.
    Similar to the garbage spread by Der Spiegel, claiming BHO was doing sets of 12 reps with 70′s. Did not happen.

  3. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    @1 shut your mouth or I’m gonna fuck it.

    -JS

  4. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    2 = cg

  5. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    And they say quant guys are nerdy…

  6. Posted by Scott H | March 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    …..about as gay as….two guys fucking!

  7. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    @BL- shouldn’t you have signed this, “Elizabeth Spring”?

  8. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    @6 yeah, making billions of dollars a year is so gay.

  9. Posted by guest | March 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    @2 with the right math, you can safely extrapolate your max from the number of reps at a given lower weight, without ever having to lift the max. For instance, I estimate, with 97.5% confidence, that I am able to lift a maximum of 122kg with my penis.

    -another former Lehman quant

  10. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    WTF is Joe Biden doing at RenTech?

  11. Posted by Scott H | March 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    @8 no, making billions a year isn’t gay –challenging colleagues to “feats of strength” is – douche

  12. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    are those their come hither looks?

  13. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    I like to wrestle white women.

    -Tiger

  14. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    219-foot yacht? is he single?

    -ruth madoff

  15. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    @1 there’s still the agency borkers to feed off of…

  16. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    serenity now!

  17. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    @10 lol

  18. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    @9 Nice.

  19. Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    “…on account of their inability to make a lot less money than Medallion…” doesn’t sound right.

  20. Posted by american bandersnatch | March 16, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    @16 – But the RIFF/RIEF investors have yet to air their greivances.

  21. Posted by Strangebrew | March 16, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    @20 FTW

  22. Posted by guestfromthefuture | March 16, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Guess the little sports almanac Jim got from his older self sailing a 219-foot yacht called Delorean was covering only the years 1988-2010…

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