Home Hedge Funds Bridgewater founder Dalio rules out new role at hedge fund giant

Bridgewater founder Dalio rules out new role at hedge fund giant

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GREENWICH — A year ago, the founder of one of the world’s largest hedge fund managers completed handing over control of the firm. Today, he maintains that he is not rethinking his decision. 

Ray Dalio dismissed on Tuesday recent reports that he was considering a return to Westport-based Bridgewater Associates that would extend beyond his current roles as a board member and mentor to the firm’s chief investment officers. He outlined his plans during an on-stage interview with Bloomberg TV anchor and reporter David Westin, on the first day of the 2023 Greenwich Economic Forum’s annual conference at the Greenwich Delamar hotel. 

“That is such a wrong,” Dalio said in response to a question from Westin about the reports. “By the way, don’t trust the media.”

Dalio appeared to be referencing an article published last month by The New York Times that said the retirement contract for the 74-year-old Dalio allowed him to retake control of the firm if its financial performance declined. The article cited five unnamed people “with knowledge of the agreement.”

Dalio, “doesn’t necessarily want to come back to run the firm he founded 50 years ago,” the Times article said. “Instead, he has repeatedly brought up the idea of starting a new fund within Bridgewater that he hopes would help improve the firm’s investment returns, four of the people said. Bridgewater’s main fund has been on a downward slide since Mr. Dalio’s retirement.”

But Dalio said at the conference that, “I’m not creating my own fund. I have a family office that manages family and foundation funds. I’m doing that.” 

Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve exceptionally wealthy individuals. By many measures, Dalio ranks as the richest person living in Connecticut. As of Tuesday, his net worth totaled $16.5 billion, ranking No. 103 worldwide, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Bridgewater officials were not immediately available to comment on Dalio’s remarks at the conference. 

As he has handed off control of Bridgewater’s investment portfolio and day-to-day operations, Dalio has become in recent years a prominent speaker and writer on management and economic issues. He has written a bestselling series of “Principles” books.  

“I’m 74-years-old, and the most important thing for me is to pass along everything, to pass along some of the knowledge and principles that I’ve learned over a period of time, which is why I’m doing this, why I’m writing the books and so on,” said Dalio, a longstanding Greenwich resident who has spoken at all six of the Greenwich Economic Forum’s annual conferences in its hometown since its launch in 2018. “And to pass along the wealth, and to pass along other things, and pass along Bridgewater. What a joy it’s been to start it out of a two-bedroom apartment, and 47 years later, to build this extended family and these wonderful people, who are very helpful. To have them, this next generation, flourish and being a bit of mentor to them — what a joy that is. So my objective is to do that.”  

Dalio referenced a book by Joseph Campbell, called “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” which he said one of his sons gave him, to describe the current stage of his life. 

“In that third transition — (Campbell) described it, and I essentially feel it — there’s what he called the passing of the boon,” Dalio said. “The boon is what you’ve acquired — the gifts you’ve acquired over that period of time. So I’m now in that phase. I’m going to put out one more book, (about) economic investment principles, and then I’m going to be done with that phase … I’m savoring life with my family and the things that I like to do. That’s where I am.”  

In its post-Dalio era, Bridgewater is navigating many changes. In March, Bridgewater CEO Nir Bar Dea announced a restructuring that would include layoffs. He did not specify the number of job losses, but Bloomberg reported that the firm was eliminating about 100 jobs from a workforce of approximately 1,300 people.

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