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20 Things You Didn't Know About David Shaw

David Shaw

David E. Shaw is an American billionaire who made his fortune through the management of a hedge fund. Mr. Shaw is a self-made tycoon who discovered how to earn a fortune in the financial sector with the aid of modern technology. He's not the typical Wall Street type as he's as much at home in a scientific research lab as he is behind the desk of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He combined his knowledge of science and the financial sector to pioneer a new method of trading. His contributions are so significant that we think you'll also be impressed with these 20 things that most people don't know about David E. Shaw.

1. His Birthday

David Elliot Shaw was born on March 29, 1951. This makes him 68 years old as of March of 2019. He's a New Yorker who makes his home in the Big Apple.

2. He was born to professional parents

Shaw was born in a family of intellectuals. His mother and father were both professionals who were active in their professions, but their career choices made them very different people. His father was a theoretical physicist, and he specialized in the research and study of plasma and fluid flows. His mother, on the other hand, was an educator and an artist. This gave young David exposure to the arts, as well as to some hardcore science from the time that he was born. It's no small wonder that he grew up to become successful in two different industries. He was influenced by the accomplishments of two very successful parents.

3. He is a native of Los Angeles

Shaw grew up in Los Angeles, California. this is where he was raised, but he was also the product of a broken home. His parents were far apart in their interests and the marriage didn't last. When David was only 12 years old, his mother and father divorced. his mother remarried, and the family continued to live in Los Angeles.

4. David's success was influenced by his stepfather

David's stepfather was Irving Pfeffer. He was also an intellectual, working as a professor of finance at the University of California at Los Angeles. Pfeffer was the author of several important papers that supported the efficient market hypothesis. It's apparent that at least to some degree, David was influenced by his stepfather's contributions to studies of the market, because he would eventually make a killing in the stock market. He was fortunate to have exposure to brilliant minds and their theories from early on in his life.

5. David E. Shaw is highly educated

After graduating from high school, David was accepted into the University of California at San Diego. He earned his bachelor's degree from the institution but continued his education, seeking a post-graduate degree. He learned the value of education from his mother, his father and his stepfather who are all highly educated professionals. David was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the prestigious Stanford University where he earned his degree in 1980. It is worth noting that only a small percentage of applications are approved at the Ivy League school, and they admit only those with the most impressive grade point averages and record of previous achievements.

6. Shaw became a faculty at Columbia University

Shaw earned his degrees in the area of computer science, which was one of his many passions. His Ph.D. gave him the credentialing necessary to secure a job teaching at the distinguished Columbia University. While he was in tenure at the institution, he was involved in research with the Non-Von supercomputer. This was a computer that was comprised of a series of processing elements used for super-fast relational database searches in its tree structure. His research involved massively parallel computing with this system.

7. He worked at Morgan Stanley

Shaw's first job in the financial sector was as the vice president for Morgan Stanley. He joined the firm in 1986 in a high leadership position which he secured thanks to is impressive credentialing in the technology sector of business. He became a leader in the automated proprietary trading group. This would give Shaw a fair amount of exposure to the financial sector and he was intrigued by the things he learned about trading while he tended to the technology side of the business.

8. He was a Presidential Advisor

Shaw's expertise in the technology sector was noticed by officials high in the American government and his opinions and expertise were in high demand. He was appointed by President Clinton as a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 1994. While serving on the council he became the chairman of the Panel on Educational Technology.

9. Shaw was appointed to yet more influential boards

The American Association for the Advancement of Science elected David E. Shaw to their board of directors. From 2000 through 2010 he served as the treasurer of the organization. Within this same decade of his service, he was appointed to yet more important positions. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. two years later, President Obama appointed him to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for a second term under the new administration. This took place in 2009, and in 2012, he was elected to teh National Academy of Engineering. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

10. David Shaw founded his own company in 1988

In 1988, Shaw entered into a new phase in his professional life. He had learned so much about the financial and market sectors throughout his various positions previously that he felt confident throwing is hat into the ring with his own venture. He started the D.E. Shaw & Co. hedge fund.

11. Shaw made billions with his hedge fund

D.E. Shaw & Co. is a unique firm that uses proprietary algorithms for securities trading. This firm became a massive success in the management of billions of dollars in funds. It was yet one more success in his life. As of 2014, Shaw made $530 million and the hedge fund managed $50 billion in assets.

12. Shaw is a pioneer in quantitative strategy

David Shaw is a scientist who applied his knowledge in the science and technology sector to that of the market and finance. He is a pioneer in quantitative strategies that use super-fast computer systems to place trades. The system has tremendous analytical capabilities and it has the potential for more accurately predicting the best trades along with the best times to make them. This saves a lot of time and human effort as the automated system can do much of the time-consuming work at a faster pace than the human mind. He began as a computer scientist but became one of the "most intriguing and mysterious forces on Wall Street," according to Fortune magazine. The publication also referred to him as "King Quant" because of his use of high-speed quantitative trading. Interestingly, after leaving the hedge fund world, Shaw went back to full-time scientific research in computational biochemistry to work on the molecular dynamics in simulations of proteins.

13. Shaw stepped away from D.E. Shaw in 2002

David Shaw stayed active in his hedge fund until he was certain that he had found the right people to staff the executive committee that would oversee the activities of the company. He is no longer involved in the day to day operations. This gives him more time to pursue other interests and even some of his passions.

14. Some famous entrepreneurs got their start with David Shaw

There are many former executives of David Shaw's hedge fund operation who got their start with the multi-billionaire, then left to go start their own very profitable ventures. One of them is Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon. Another is John Overdeck of the Two Sigma hedge fund.

15. David Shaw went back to science and research

Although he took time out to start a multi-billion dollar business in the financial sector, David Shaw has never strayed far from his true passion. he is a scientist at heart and this is something that he has since returned to do. He returned to Columbia University where he served as an adjunct professor of biomedical informatics at its medical school.

16. David founded a computational biochemistry company

Shaw has returned to the career for which he has maintained a passion. He holds a weighty position at the institution as the chief scientist of DE Shaw Research. This company conducts research across a variety of disciplines within the field of computational biochemistry.

17. Shaw's net worth is in the billions but he spreads the wealth

Forbes reported that as of the end of 2018, David E. Shaw had an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion. This was later updated to $7.3 billion. This money was earned mostly in the hedge fund sector of the market. His company manages $50 billion in assets.

Shaw has participated in some philanthropic endeavors and has made donations in the amount of $2.5 million to a super PAC in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Priorities USA Action. This tells us a little bit about his political affiliations. He also established the Shaw Family Endowment with his wife. The couple has given donations of $1 million to the Organizing for Action group along with donations of $400,000 each to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. The foundation has also donated $800,000 to the Horace Mann School. Shaw regularly supports educational institutions with an annual donation of a million dollars each to Princeton University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Yale University. He's made significant donations to the ivy league schools and spread the wealth around. While he was at it, he didn't forget the others. Shaw also made annual donations of $500,000 each to Brown University and to Columbia University. The majority of Shaw's philanthropy is directed towards education.

18. He's one of the richest men in the world

David Shaw has placed high on several of Forbes' highly desired lists for successful leaders in the business world. He was named as number 75 on the Forbes 400 list for 2019. He placed as seventh on the Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers 2019. He is ranked as number 209 on the Billionaires list of 2019.

19. He's a self-made billionaire

Forbes has David Shaw listed as a self-made billionaire who earned his fortune in the hedge funds business. He gets an 8 on the self-made score which means that he has had very little assistance in earning his fortune from outside sources. Another company that Shaw founded is the Stanford Systems Corporation.

20. He's married with a family

Shaw married a lady with whom he has a great deal in common. Although not a scientist, his wife Beth Kobliner is a personal finance commentator and journalist. The couple has three children together and they make their home in New York, New York. Beth joins her husband in a number of joint ventures and experiences. She shares his passion for philanthropy and co-founded the Shaw Family Foundation. The couple is both members of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York and they have made significant contributions to their synagogue. They are a Jewish family. The couple owns several homes in Westchester County, New York which they purchased in 2014, on a unique project to convert these homes into a huge mansion. The event received a great deal of attention from the press. David Shaw lives a very rich and fulfilled life and he's made many significant contributions to the furthering of research in science and high-speed computations which has uses in a variety of industries across the board.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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