Bridgewater Ensures Packs Of Wildebeest-Hunting, Risk-Parity-Achieving, Truth-Spreading Hyenas Will Roam Connecticut For Years To ComeBy Bess Levin
Bridgewater Associates told its investors that it will launch a new hedge fund this year, and had sold another minority equity stake in the firm to an unidentified buyer to help ensure its long-term viability. Bridgewater described its new fund, All Weather Major Markets, as a variation of its All Weather strategy that seeks to perform in any economic environment. In a Jan. 24 year-end report to investors, the hedge-fund firm said All Weather Major Markets would help ensure that its $65 billion All Weather fund doesn’t grow too large, potentially hurting its returns. All Weather returned 15.3% in 2012, gross of fees, Bridgewater wrote. In the same 304-page report, Bridgewater said it had completed a deal at the end of last year to sell a nonvoting stake in the firm to an outside investor, marking the fourth time the firm made such a transaction. The firm didn’t identify the investor or the size of the stake. “The proceeds of these transactions have allowed us to create a sustainable capital base that is independent of Ray, while remaining entirely employee-controlled,” the Jan. 24 report said, referring to Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio. [WSJ]
A plan to transform a gritty, industrial stretch of South End waterfront into a glassy headquarters for the world’s largest hedge fund came into sharper focus this week, following submission of zoning applications from developer Building and Land Technology. In addition to a five-story, 850,000-square-foot office, the campus for Bridgewater Associates calls for a helipad, a floating recreational barge, a restored estuary and a marina…The heart of the plan is a giant office complex designed by Cutler Anderson Architects. The Washington-based firm previously designed Bill Gates’ private home in Medina, Wash. Made up of two long, curved buildings joined in the center by bridges and paths, the structure is poised to become the most striking presence on the Stamford coastline. The project’s goal, according to the coastal site plan application, is “to house a corporation in an environment that fosters personal interaction and a strong connection to the living world.” [Stamford Advocate, earlier]
On Wednesday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut announced that the asset manager would be constructing a state-of-the-art facility along the Stamford waterfront as part of an economic and community development initiative. As part of the program, which will give the firm as much as $115 million in incentives as part of the deal, Bridgewater has also promised to add another 750 to 1,000 new high-level jobs to its current staff of 1,225…The new offices will have about 750,000 square feet spread across two eco-friendly buildings that will front the water in the Harbor Point development area. Bridgewater has promised to clean up the contaminated site and reforest the area, creating a park-like campus for its employees with public access. “We are pleased that the State of Connecticut shares our vision of creating a state of the art and environmentally sustainable office campus, while also restoring this key piece of natural waterfront property in Stamford,” Greg Jensen, co-chief executive of Bridgewater, said in a statement. “We look forward to transforming this industrial site into a spectacularly beautiful forested campus that will be seamlessly integrated into the natural surroundings. The proposed campus will house all of our employees and be designed to facilitate creativity, collaboration and help reinforce Bridgewater’s distinct culture which has been so instrumental to our success.” [Dealbook]
Ben Gifford ’10, the valedictorian of his class [at Dartmouth], left his job at Bridgewater Associates after a year and a half. The next day, he decided to open a San Francisco-based bakery called Double or Muffin, an idea he and his childhood friend and Double or Muffin co-founder Sean Pears conceived while they were at a coffee shop in their hometown of Newton, Mass., according to Gifford. “It was the summer after college graduation and we were waiting in line, making bad jokes, when one of us said ‘double or muffin,’” Gifford said. “It’s really unclear who said it first, and we kind of forgot about it initially, but before long we realized that there was an actual game you could play that corresponded pretty much perfectly with the pun. You would buy a muffin and flip a coin — heads you’d get a second muffin for free, tails you’d keep the muffin you already bought.” Gifford, who does not have any prior entrepreneurial experience, had planned on pursuing other career paths post-graduation. After being rejected from several teaching programs in Asia, Gifford subsequently joined Bridgewater Associates in May 2010. “I actually liked the company and the people a lot, and, as I had hoped, I learned a ton,” Gifford said. “But at the end of the day, I’m really just not that passionate about macroeconomics or financial markets.” [The Dartmouth]
Think twice about calling in "sick"
Bridgewater Associates Suggests Fate Worse Than Firing In Store For Hyenas Caught Cheating On Day-Long Principles ExamBy Bess Levin
A couple weeks back, we noted that Bridgewater Associates had informed employees that they would be required to sit for an exam on the contents of Principles, a 123 page company handbook of sorts, written by founder Ray Dalio and comprised of hundreds of “principles” that guide every aspect of life at the firm. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of proficiency and some people were said to be a bit nervous about what to expect. Luckily, a group called the Principles Training Team sent out an email yesterday walking everyone through what “Test Day” will entail and it appears there is nothing to worry about. The exam, which will begin at 9AM and end at 5PM with a break for lunch is simply “meant to feel like a day-long conversation on Principles.” That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Sure, parts of that conversation (which will take place between you and your computer), during which you “should have no materials on your desk,” will be graded, but Bridgewater is just trying to determine “what you know and honestly think about Principles.” Think of this thing as just a coupla wildebeests, havin’ a chat. Of course, as is the case in any animal kingdom, sometimes you’ll find a few wildebeests looking to cut corners via cheat sheets– you don’t want to be those wildebeests, as the PTT will “audit for cheating, and cheating will be dealt with severely.” To that end, don’t be a weaselly wildebeest who suddenly comes with a stomach bug on Test Day. The PTT will “keep track of lateness or unexpected absence,” and cautions that one might want to “think twice about calling in ‘sick’!” Read more »