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]
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 »
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 »
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 »
Dartmouth Undergrad Has A Bone To Pick With Ray Dalio, ‘Faceless Hedge Funds,’ The Dartmouth Board, And Peers Who Flock To Wall Street To ‘Perpetuate Class-Based Systems Of Power And Dominance’By Bess Levin
At a party in New Hampshire last week, one Dartmouth undergrad relayed a story to another about Bridgewater Associates. Apparently the former had chosen to abstain from the annual recruiting session that takes place over the summer for rising juniors and as a firm committed to probing the depths of any situation until they find the truth, Bridgewater wanted to know more. The hedge fund offered to pay the coed “$100 to write a statement explaining why she didn’t participate,” she told her friend, a proposition that sickened him.
The sheer arrogance and senselessness of this anecdote made me sick to my stomach, partly because, as planned, the exercise made her second guess her choice. But I had to admit there was a certain conceited logic to it — if this company can pay her $100 just to explain why she did not want to work for them, it’s easy to imagine how much cash she could rake in if she decided to pursue the job.
The exercise also got him thinking.
After I was done vomiting in my mouth, thinking of all the people who desperately need that hundred dollars, I began to think about the depth to which the recruiting culture has permeated our College. It has siphoned off some of our great minds into a dead-end field that sanitizes the intellect, offers almost nothing to human society, and conditions people to act in ways that are decidedly inhuman.
He continued. Read more »
Later next month, Glencore will go public in an IPO that is expected to raise as much as $11-12 billion, giving the commodities firm a potential market value of between $55-73 billion. It’s multiple exclamation point exciting, not unlike Fortress’s hernia-inducing IPO of 2007. As part of the buildup to the big event, there’s been a demand for insight into how Glencore, founded in 1974 by Marc Rich and currently run by Ivan Glasenberg, got to where it is today and what it looks like on the inside. One theory currently being floated is that it’s a cult. Read more »
Over the weekend word began to leak out about a report from Europe predicting losses at financial companies would be twice as large as many had predicted and far larger than have been declared by banks and securities firms so far. In April the IMF had estimated that world wide losses from mortgages and other debt would amount to $1 trillion. The new report, which turns out to have been based on a confidential memorandum from Bridgewater Associates, put that losses at half again as high, $1.5 trillion. To put this in perspective, that would mean that we’re only about one-third of the way down.
The German language newspaper SonntagsZeitung said there will probably be a financial “avalanche” of distresses debt securities. It warned that financial institutions may not be able to raise enough capital to cover the losses. In other words, we should be ready to see at least one more bank or brokerage collapse. At least one.
Brisante Studie: Die Bankenkrise wird noch viel schlimmer [SonntagsZeitung]
Banking Crisis May Cause $1.6 Trillion in Losses, Sonntags Says [Bloomberg]