Bridgewater's Leaders Call for Votes on Each Other, WSJ Says

  • Founder Dalio asks management to vote on co-CEO's integrity
  • Co-CEO Jensen asks employees if Dalio is sticking to plans

Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s most profitable hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, is spatting with co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Jensen over each other’s behavior and asking employees to vote on the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Dalio, whose efforts to promote a culture of honesty include recording conversations and requiring employees to publicly talk about their mistakes and weaknesses, called on management and stakeholder committees at the $154 billion hedge fund to vote on Jensen’s integrity, the Journal wrote, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Jensen asked those employees to assess whether Dalio is sticking to plans he kicked off about five years ago to handover control of the hedge fund, the Journal wrote.

Westport, Connecticut-based Bridgewater is more than halfway through a 10-year succession plan, under which Dalio split his CEO role among Jensen, Eileen Murray and David McCormick. Dalio remains co-chief investment officer with Bob Prince, a role the two have shared since 1986.

“This story is getting blown out of proportion,” Jensen said in an e-mailed statement. “Ray and I have had (and will have) many disagreements. We have a process for handling them and both of us believe that process is working well.”

In a separate statement, Dalio called the story “a sensationalistic mischaracterization of what is going on.”

“This particular dispute has already been resolved via our process and Greg and I both expect to work together, probably for the rest of our careers,” he wrote. “More importantly, we have a fabulous community of people who wouldn’t work anywhere else because they treasure having the radical transparency into such things, so that they know that there’s no spin and no closed door, back-biting politics.”

Dalio’s Bridgewater Pure Alpha fund, set up in 1975, has earned $45 billion in absolute terms through last year, making it the hedge fund that’s earned the most money for investors in the history of the industry, according to estimates by LCH Investments NV, a London-based firm that invests in hedge funds.

Dalio promotes the Bridgewater culture through his “Principles,” a 123-page presentation available on the company website. It includes personal anecdotes, such as being inspired by The Beatles to try meditation, and maxims such as “Don’t try to please everyone,” and “Use checklists.” Conversations at the company are either audio or videotaped so that employees can make their own assessments.

“I recognize that it’s difficult for people who aren’t in our culture to understand it, and I understand that distorted gossiping about it is going to occur,” said Dalio.

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