Here’s how big-name quants like Renaissance Technologies and D.E. Shaw performed in April despite choppy markets

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The last full month of returns Renaissance Technologies delivered during its founder’s life were strong.

The quant giant’s two largest funds for outside investors, Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund and Renaissance Institutional Diversified Alpha, did well in April, before the firm lost its founder, 86-year-old billionaire Jim Simons, on Friday. Simons — who stepped down as CEO of the firm in 2010 and chairman in 2021 — is remembered as one of the most revolutionary investors to ever live, changing the industry with his academic research and quantitative approach to investing.

The crown jewel of Simons’ accomplishments, the smaller Medallion fund, available only to current and former partners, has astonished the industry for decades thanks to consistent stellar returns. But the $40 billion firm’s larger funds have also done well in 2024 after a stretch of wobbly performance and redemptions a couple of years ago.

The largest of the firm’s funds, Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund, was up 1.8% in April, a person close to the manager told Business Insider, bringing its 2024 figure to 6.5%. The younger Renaissance Institutional Diversified Alpha fund, meanwhile, had a banner April, returning 3.6%. The fund’s 2024 return through the year’s first four months is 6.2%.

According to Hedge Fund Research, the average hedge fund made just under 0.9% last month and is up 5.9% for the year. The S&P 500 dropped 4.2% last month, dragging its annual figure through the end of April down to 5.6%.

Fellow quant giants such as Two Sigma, D.E. Shaw, and AQR were also up last month. $60 billion Two Sigma gained 0.6% in its equity-focused Spectrum fund, bringing annual returns to 4.2%, a person close to the quant firm said. The firm’s other main fund, Absolute Return Enhanced, is also up 7.1% for the year.

D.E. Shaw, meanwhile, made 0.2% in its Composite fund in April. The fund, which includes quant strategies and discretionary ones, is up 5.4% for 2024, a person close to the New York-based manager said.

AQR’s multi-strategy Apex fund returned 2.4% in April, bumping the $1.2 billion fund up to 11.1% for the year, a person close to the Greenwich-based asset manager said.

Paris-based Capital Fund Management did slip slightly in April compared to its peers. A person close to the $14.5 billion manager said that the firm’s largest fund, $11.2 billion Stratus, was down 0.4% last month, while $5.4 billion Discus dropped 1.6%. The funds have made 5.5% and 5%, respectively, in 2024.

The managers declined to comment.

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