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York Capital's James Dinan: We Treat People Like People

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Here's what Lee Ainslie, James Dinan, Izzy Englander had to say on the "hedge funds legends" panel at this year's SALT conference in Vegas about the culture within their firms:

Ainslie: "It's very important to identify what you values are; make sure everyone understands what you're trying to achieve as a team. Our training week at the beginning of the year starts with an ethics section. We never keep an individuals's P&L- only team P&L, so no one person gets credit or blame for an investment decision, which makes for a very collegial culture and makes people do recognize that they're there to what's in the best interest of our investors.

Dinan: "At the end of the day, we've tried to create a culture that's egalitarian. Myself and the other partners sit on the same desk as everyone else on the firm. We're open, we have no secrets, we discourage people from thinking about 'their business' rather than 'the firm's business.' We promote from within- every partner started as analyst and worked their way up. We don't throw people out when they don't work out we help them find something else. It's not a Darwinian culture. People take a chance to go for the gold because they know we recognize that they're people and not a cog in the wheel.

Englander: "It's very important that there's a common sense for the discipline, a level of simpatico. Unlike Jamie and Lee, everyone does have their own P&L and they're judged on their own. If people want to share their ideas, that's fine, if they don't, that's fine. Though I will say we do about 20-25% in statistical arbitrage- try getting a quant to be collegial."


Highbridge, York Capital Cutting Risk Dramatically

“The best course of action is to take risk off,” said Highbridge Capital’s Glenn Dubin at SkyBridge Capital’s hedge fund confab in Las Vegas. Dubin thinks there is a lot of risk in the market now, and Highbridge is reducing its balance sheet dramatically, moving to a defensive position.