Bridgewater Associates

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 »

Interest in the subject matter is a minor consideration. Unlike a lot of firms, we look at what someone is like rather than what they did before. We are first interested in people’s values, second interested in their abilities, and least interested in their precise skills. We want independent thinkers who are willing to put aside their egos to find out what is true. Did the candidate come up with a new idea and build it out? Like if when he was 15 he mowed lawns and developed that into a business by getting others to mow lawns with mowers he bought them. –Ray Dalio, “How To Get Hired At Bridgewater” [BusinessWeek, Related: "Firing people is not a big deal"]

As many of you know, Bridgewater Associates is mega-successful, multi-billion dollar hedge fund guided by Principles, a company handbook written by founder and Mentor Ray Dalio, which instructs employees to go on radical truth seeking missions in order to better themselves and in turn the firm. Bridgewater takes the principles very seriously and each member of the staff is given spiral bound copies to read, highlight, and imbue their souls with. While the idea of Truth above all else is the overarching idea, there are literally hundreds of principles (such as 31a. “Ask yourself whether you have earned the right to have an opinion,” 130. “…Firing people is not a big deal…” and 184. “Use checklists”), which span 123 pages and are broken down into outline form after being explained at length. 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 efficiency. Until now. Read more »

Last Friday afternoon, while many a financial services employee was dealing with the fallout of receiving a bonus they did not believe to be commensurate with the work they put in for 2011, Bridgewater was dealing with a far weightier issue. The hedge fund had a thief in its ranks and said thief’s jig was up. Read more »

  • 10 Jan 2012 at 10:41 AM

Which Hedge Funds Were Most Profitable In 2011?

The latest issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine has the answer to that burning question but first, let’s take a gander at who had the best performance, among large hedge funds.

1. Tiger Global, YTD total return: 45% (assets, in billions: 6.0)
2. Renaissance Institutional Equities, 33.1% (7.0)
3. Pure Alpha II, 23.5% (53.0)
4. Discus Managed Futures Program, 20.9% (2.5)
5. Providence MBS, 20.6% (1.3)
6. Oculus, 19.0% (7.0)
7. All Weather 12%, 17.8% (4.4)
7. Dymon Asia Macro, 17.8% (1.6)
10. Citadel, 17.7% (11.0)
11. Coatue Management, 16.9% (4.7)
12. Stratus Multi-Strategy Program, 16.6% (3.7)
13. OxAM Quant Fund, 16.4% (2.0)
14. SPM Core, 15.7% (1.0)
15. Pure Alpha I, 14.9% (11.0)
16. Autonomy Global Macro, 13.9% (2.1)
17. BlackRock Fixed Income Global Alpha, 13.8% (2.4)
18. SPM Structured Serving Holding, 13.5% (1.6)
19. GSA Capital International, 13.0% (1.0)
20. JAT Capital, 12.7% (2.5)

And for those who judge themselves by how many bags of hundos they’ve got to strip naked and roll around in: Read more »

As you may have heard, Bridgewater Associates is a hedge fund committed to probing the depths of any situation until it finds the truth. And, when one makes it his or her business to go after the truth, one must be persistent, and not take no for an answer. For example, at other funds, recruiters would probably not care to find out why any given individual chose not to work them, especially if said person had never even gone through the interview process in the first place, whereas Bridgewater simply rejects your rejection and demands a detailed list of valid reasons why you’ve chosen not to even consider what life could be like with BDubs. Last August, we learned of a Dartmouth student who was paid $100 to “explain why she did not want to work for them” and today, a Yale senior** relates being crammed into a hotel room to do the same. Read more »

  • 08 Sep 2011 at 10:11 AM

Ray Dalio: Preacha Tellin’ The Truth And It Hurts!

The truth, according to Bridgewater, being: 1) the world is going to hell in a handbasket and 2) 2011 will be the Year of the Hyena. Read more »