A strategy run by Renaissance Technologies, the secretive multibillion hedge fund firm, is attracting fresh money.
The firm’s Renaissance Institutional Equity Fund (RIEF) grew by about $4 billion in 2016, ending the year with $14.9 billion after starting 2016 with about $10.9 billion, according to person familiar with the matter.
The person declined to be named because the information is private.
To be sure, most of that increase is from performance, as the fund returned 21.5% last year, equal to about $2.35 billion in gains. Still, a rough calculation shows that the fund probably took in about $1.6 billion in new money in 2016.
The capital raise comes at a time when many hedge funds are struggling to attract new money. A spokesman for Renaissance declined to comment for this article.
Renaissance’s most famous fund, Medallion, has been closed to money from outside investors since 1993. RIEF, however, is open, and Renaissance believes it still has room to grow, the person said.
Renaissance, or RenTec for short, is one of the industry’s most successful hedge fund firms, gaining legendary status for its Medallion fund. The fund, perhaps the most successful moneymaker of all time, has beat out legendary investors like George Soros and Ray Dalio, Bloomberg reported last year.
The firm has a history of minting millionaires and billionaires, some of whom have gone on to donate a lot of money to politicians.
Robert Mercer, RenTec’s billionaire co-CEO, is one of Trump’s biggest backers, and donated $22.5 million last year to conservative groups, according to a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics.
He and is daughter, Rebekah Mercer, are close with many in the Trump team, including Stephen Bannon, Trump’s adviser and founder of website Breitbart, a far-right website that is known for promoting white-nationalist views.
The firm’s founder, Jim Simons, meanwhile, has backed liberals. Simons donated about $25 million to liberal groups last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, making him the fifth biggest individual donor overall.