Peter Brown, the CEO of Renaissance Technologies, said he has slept in his office 2,000 nights during the course of his career.

MONEY & BUSINESS: Hedge fund titan Peter Brown slept in his office 2,000 nights

The chief executive of one of the nation’s most successful hedge funds said he spent some 2,000 nights sleeping in his office.

Peter Brown, the 68-year-old CEO of Long Island-based Renaissance Technologies, said bunking at work for the equivalent of roughly five-and-half years helped keep him focused on his job.

He would put in a four-day work week at the hedge fund’s East Setauket office before flying back to the family home in Washington, D.C., Brown said during Goldman Sachs Exchanges podcast on Wednesday.

“For me, productivity-wise it’s really fantastic being able to spend nearly 80 straight hours each week with no interruptions except sleep thinking about work before spending three more normal days at home,” Brown told podcast host Raj Mahajan, in comments first reported by Insider.

“Of course, I really miss my family. But the freedom to concentrate nonstop on work while surrounded by my colleagues is hugely valuable. And the job is so demanding, I really don’t see how I could do it otherwise.”

Peter Brown, the CEO of Renaissance Technologies, said he has slept in his office 2,000 nights during the course of his career.
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Brown said the decision to sleep at the office was made easier because his wife, Margaret Hamburg, worked in D.C. Hamburg headed the Food and Drug Administration during the Obama administration.

“My experience has been that when a husband and a wife work in two different towns, the husband commutes,” Brown said. “Psychologically, if I’m going to be away from my family, I have to work.”

Brown began working at Renaissance in 1993 after being hired away from his job at IBM by the hedge fund’s founder Jim Simons.

Under Brown’s leadership, Renaissance has grown into one of the most successful hedge funds in the world, with more than $130 billion in assets under management.

During a 30-year span that predated Brown’s arrival, from 1988 to 2018, Renaissance’s flagship Medallion Fund amassed 66% annualized returns before fees and 39% after fees, according to Insider.

His laser-like focus has him sleeping only a few hours each night, to the chagrin of staffers.

Renaissance is considered one of the nation's most successful hedge funds. Brown is pictured above.
Renaissance is considered one of the nation’s most successful hedge funds. Brown is pictured above.
Simon Foundation

Brown said that he felt guilty about phoning one of his subordinates late at night, so he offered him a raise to soften the blow.

“So, it was around 1 o’clock in the morning and I picked up the phone to call [a colleague],” Brown said.

“And Jim says to me, ‘Wait. You can’t call this guy in the middle of the night. He doesn’t make enough money.’ So, I said, ‘Fine. How about this? I’ll call him. I’ll tell him we’re going to give him a raise. And then ask him our question.’”

“And so, that’s what we did.”

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