When one has built one’s life, career and reputation on the concepts of “radical” transparency and honesty; when one has written and disseminated maxims like “realize that you have nothing to fear from the truth,” “consider your own ‘believability’” and “make accurate assessments;” when one has gone to the mat to defend those principles from a skeptical and scowling world, it is not great to face accusations that you have perhaps not been living up to them—especially when you are mere days away from releasing a book expounding upon them as general rules by which all, and not just billionaire hedge fund managers and their subordinates, should live by. And yet this is where Ray Dalio finds himself, accused of not just fetishizing China, but perhaps being a little bit less than totally accurate, believable and, well, honest about the country where he hopes to start raising billions of dollars.
Obviously, such an allegation cannot be allowed to stand unanswered.
The most recent note to clients, sent late Monday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, tells Bridgewater investors, “We assure you that we are shooting straight with you.”
Sure, there have been instances in which Bridgewater was allegedly not 100% as open and transparent as one might expect. Going easy on China to butter up its leaders is, however, somewhat different than trying to keep the wraps on a sexual-harassment kerfuffle, at least as far as Bridgewater investors are concerned. Indeed, the former is the very negation of what it is to be Ray Dalio, or at least what we thought it was to be Ray Dalio. At least in one way, however, he reverted to form, choosing to attack the messenger.
Mr. Dalio over the past eighteen months has been critical of media reports on his firm, occasionally using LinkedIn to present his views. In the notes to clients Monday, he wrote that owing to privacy reasons, he couldn’t get into specifics about the recent Journal story. Instead he offered the widely used quote: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”