Breakups are hard. So after GE spurned Connecticut and moved it's HQ up the I-95 to Boston, The Nutmeg State was going to be damned if it let another one of its prized cash cows get away without a fight.
But Connecticut is starting to look a little co-dependent...
The world’s biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, is poised to receive $22 million in financial aid from Connecticut in an effort to keep it from moving its headquarters out of the state.
To be radically transparent; you're embarrassing yourself, Connecticut.
Sure, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would have probably handed over like $100 million in a plethora of tax breaks to steal Bridgewater under the cloak of night and personally deliver them to a sparkling new Westchester HQ, but that was never going to happen because - like the American robin - Ray Dalio is a creature of the Connecticut woods.
And that's why he's building such luxurious nests...
The money will go toward the expansion of Bridgewater’s headquarters in Westport and facilities in Wilton and Norwalk, according to the State Bond Commission. A commission meeting on Friday approved the funding, which includes $2 million for employee training and a $17 million loan. If Bridgewater creates 750 jobs over the next five years the loan will be forgiven.
Okay, so maybe some of that money won't stay with Ray and Co. Bridgewater's current headcount is estimated to be at about 1,500 and it's hard to see Dalio pushing that number by 50% in a short period of time and/or finding 750 people that he deems worthy to work at his treehouse of profits.
Yeah, we know that Dalio has said he's looking to hire but unless he's counting landscapers willing to deal with radical transparency reviews ("The way you trim hedges fills me with rage") it's hard to see him hitting that number. But if you look at New York's similar and murky "Excelsior Jobs Program," Bridgewater might be able to hang on to a large portion of the loan.
And this reality is not lost on Connecticut lawmakers...
On Monday, Themis Klarides, a Republican state representative, said in a statement that “to make the world’s largest hedge fund a priority, I find it dubious.” She emphasized other projects that would not be financed as a result of state funding going toward the grant to Bridgewater.
In a statement after the meeting Friday, Kevin Lembo, the state comptroller, said: “Despite my general reluctance about the state picking winners and losers, I have been willing to cautiously support economic assistance to private companies. But the size, scope and nature of this particular proposal stands out and meets a new threshold that compels me to vote against it.”
And if Connecticut has valued Bridgwater at worth $22 million, what kind of numbers will it throw at AQR Capital, Viking Global or even Point 72 threaten to leave? After all, like the dogwood tree, hedge fund money is indigenous to the Connecticut ecosystem.