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Suppose you made a list of the smartest people alive in finance–those who have done the most to advance our understanding of how the stock market really works. Somewhere near the top you’d surely place Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago, the leading champion of the efficient-market theory and a favorite to win a Nobel Prize one day. You’d obviously want to include Merton Miller of Chicago, who earned a Nobel by analyzing the effect of a corporation’s capital structure on its stock price, and Myron Scholes of Stanford, who won his Nobel by explaining the pricing of options. You’d also pencil in Fama’s collaborator Kenneth French of MIT, as well as consultant Roger Ibbotson and master data cruncher Rex Sinquefield, who together compiled the most trusted record of stock market returns going back to 1926. – FORTUNE Magazine

Shawn Tully

FORTUNE Magazine

Rex Sinquefield amassed a fortune by doing nothing. Well, not exactly: In the 1970s, he pioneered the first index funds, investment vehicles that strictly track a broad portfolio of financial assets, such as the S&P 500, leaving no room for individual error or hunches. He did so by capitalizing on a theory, honed by his intellectual mentors at the University of Chicago, that such “passive” investments in the overall market could outperform even the best stock pickers in the country. “Private investment managers can’t beat markets,” he likes to say. – POLITICO

T.J. Proechel

Politico