Renaissance Technologies is raising its third quantitative hedge fund, this one specializing in trading futures and designed to handle up to $50 billion, a source familiar with the matter said.
Renaissance, which is managed by mathematics professor-turned-financier James Simons, recently began sending out offering documents for the fund, the source said.
Long Island, N.Y.-based Renaissance, which industry publication Alpha Magazine listed as the world's sixth-largest hedge fund group as of May 2007, continues to raise money for its second fund, the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund (RIEF), which is now over $26 billion.
Its first fund, Medallion, which has about $6 billion, has been one of the most successful funds in the hedge fund world, but is closed to new investors.
Renaissance declined to comment. Private investment firms like hedge funds are barred by regulators from discussing fundraisings in the media on the view that this may entice ordinary people to invest in what are considered risky vehicles for sophisticated investors. News of the fundraising was reported by the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The fundraising comes at a time when many "quant" funds, which employ rapid-fire trading methods using computer driven models, took big hits during the market gyrations of the last month in particular.
Now some have recovered at least some lost territory as they reconfigured their models. The RIEF fund, which was down almost 9 percent by mid-August, bounced back and is now up about a half percent for August, the source said. Final figures aren't in yet.
It is all but clear whether investors will pony up $50 billion for the new fund, which would make it by far the world's biggest hedge fund.
In its offering documents, Renaissance said its RIEF fund was designed to handle up to $100 billion, but the fund is so far nowhere near that size and it is not clear whether it ever will be.