Ray Dalio’s No. 2 Is Trying To Impeach Him

Things are more than a little awkward at Bridgewater Associates right now.
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At least we think that’s what’s happening. But let’s face it, what looks radically transparent within Bridgewater Associates is not always so clear from the outside.

Here’s what we think we know: Greg Jensen has accused Ray Dalio of failing to adhere to the 2011 succession plan that just so happens would put Greg Jensen in charge. In response, Dalio says Jensen is just one step above a slimy weasel. And this being the weird world of Westport, there is of course a special tribunal that will consider which of the men is most in violation of the firm’s Principles.

The dispute between Messrs. Dalio and Jensen will be voted on by about a dozen top employees and stakeholders in the investment firm. Those people are reviewing video recordings of meetings, transcripts and other material to prepare for the votes, according to people familiar with the matter….

The vote results and each person’s individual votes will be made available to the rest of Bridgewater. “All employees see what would be hidden in most companies,” Mr. Dalio said.

Presumably those other materials include the Bridgewater English Dictionary, lest you think that words like “integrity” and “lies” have the same meaning within the hedge fund as they do everywhere else.

“The question here about Greg is whether he said things about me on tape in our meetings that he did not discuss with me before,” Mr. Dalio said in a written statement to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Dalio, Bridgewater’s chairman and co-chief investment officer, said the issue isn’t about “a traditional definition of integrity.” He said he believes Mr. Jensen has “incredible integrity by any traditional definition….”

A video that Bridgewater titled “Eileen Lies” details the handling of accusations several years ago against Eileen Murray, a management committee member….

“I can assure you that if Eileen was assessed to be a liar she wouldn’t be here today,” Mr. Dalio said.

Sounds like every bit the healthy environment Jensen assures the Journal it is.

But, wait, you say. Did you write something about “videos”? Yes, yes we did.

Bridgewater requires employees to watch professionally edited training videos that use case studies to show how the investment firm’s principles should be used in day-to-day work. Tens of thousands of hours of videos and transcripts are stockpiled in the “Transparency Library.”

One video shows Mr. Dalio standing at a dry-erase board and demonstrating how the marker ink won’t fully rub out with an eraser, according to people familiar with the video. Mr. Dalio prods Bridgewater employees at length about why they bought the dry-erase board, why it doesn’t work and how the bad decision could have been avoided, those people say.

As far as we know, Dalio didn’t go into any other reasons why dry-erase boards might be objectionable. But we digress. Because there’s just so, so much more. For instance, if you were wondering what those employees not sitting in judgment or studying film will be doing, you’re in luck.

While at work, Bridgewater employees constantly rate each other on more than 60 attributes, including “willingness to touch the nerve,” “conceptual thinking” and “reliability,” people familiar with the matter say.

The system feeds data into an ever-growing set of benchmarks, comparable to a stock index, that flag low scores and can eventually lead to a smaller bonus for an employee or even being let go.

In an iPad app called “Dot Collector,” employees weigh in on the direction of conversations while they are happening. Employees also are quizzed about the outcome of meetings. Any meeting of at least three people is expected to hold at least one poll, according to people familiar with the matter.

The average employee accumulates more than 2,000 “dots,” or individual ratings from other employees, a year, a person familiar with the matter says….

The “Pain Button” serves as a kind of diary of unpleasant experiences. It can be used to spot negative patterns, track progress in dealing with conflict and potentially avoid similar experiences in the future.

One thing they’ll probably not be doing is giving up any further insights into the Happiest Place on Earth.

After the Journal asked Bridgewater about the dispute, the firm warned employees in an email that it would find anyone responsible for leaking information, people familiar with the matter say.

But, you know, if you’re feeling like living dangerously: tips@dealbreaker.com.

Schism Atop Bridgewater, the World’s Largest Hedge Fund [WSJ]

Related: Bridgewater Associates: “Ask yourself whether you’ve earned the right to have an opinion” [VIDEO]

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