Bridgewater Associates Planning Employee Layoffs in 'Renovation'

Sep 16 2016 | 10:32pm ET

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates is reportedly trimming staff in what the world's largest hedge fund manager by assets is describing as a “renovation.”

The plans, revealed in a note and a town hall meeting with staff on Thursday, include employee layoffs as part of an effort to “improve efficiencies” at the storied alternative investment manager, which is famous for its policy of “radical transparency”, a unique culture of no-holds-barred feedback and evaluation. 

The letter, which noted that Bridgewater is up to 1,700 employees from only 150 in 2003, said the pain would be mostly confined to non-investment areas such as technology, recruiting, management services and facilities. Although the firm’s fundamentals remain strong and $22.5 billion of new capital has come into its coffers since 2015, the letter said, some areas of Bridgewater’s business have become “bloated, inefficient and bureaucratic.”

The scope and timing of the planned separations were not immediately available. 

The developments come roughly six months after former Apple executive Jon Rubenstein was named co-CEO of the firm in early March. Six top executives signed the letter, including Rubenstein, Dalio, co-CIOs Bob Prince and Greg Jensen, co-CEO Eileen Murray, and president David McCormick.

Bridgewater has been under pressure due to mixed performance for much of the past year. Its flagship Pure Alpha fund is down more than 9% for 2016 year to date, according to a Reuters article citing unidentified persons familiar with the company’s results, while its passively managed All Weather fund is up 13% and a third is flat. 

Founded in 1975 in a two-room apartment, Westport, CT-based Bridgewater is the world’s largest hedge fund manager, responsible for around $150 billion in assets for institutional investors, foreign governments, central banks, corporate and public pension funds, university endowments and charitable foundations.


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