Bridgewater Associates founder leaves CIO role

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Faeyah Muhammad

Bridgewater Associates Co-Chief Investment Officer Ray Dalio, who founded the hedge fund, announced that he is stepping down from his role.

“Today is a very special day for me and Bridgewater Associates because I transitioned my control of Bridgewater to the next generation, and I feel great about the people and ‘machine’ now in control,” Dalio wrote in part in a LinkedIn post. “This transition moment is the culmination of a 47-year journey.”

Bridgewater, one of the world’s largest premier asset management firms, was founded by Dalio in 1975. Starting in his two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan as a research company, the firm grew into one of the United States’ largest hedge funds over time.

Bridgewater proved itself as a versatile firm that serves a range of institutional clients, which include pension funds, endowments, foundations, foreign governments and central banks.

Over the past four decades, the firm faced many challenges, including the 2008 financial crisis. However, given the firm’s years of conducting research, its members were able to implement criteria that would help the fund face economic turmoil successfully.

The firm is now valued at almost $150 billion, and its founder is finally ready to step down.

However, Dalio’s succession plans have been in place since 2011. His choice for a successor was one that he heavily contemplated.

Before Dalio stepped down from his 10-month role as CEO in 2017, many people were given the opportunity to be co-CEO but were not the right fit. Among them was John Rubinstein, who was brought into the firm to assist in leadership and development toward technology.

Many hedge funds worry about remaining current technologically. With Rubinstein’s prior work with Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs before joining Bridgewater, Dalio saw him to be a good fit who could further develop the fund, but he ended up not being an adequate fit.

Hence, Dalio surprised the industry when he stepped down from a C-suite role.

Pure Alpha, Bridgewater’s flagship subsidiary fund, advanced 34.6% this year through Sept. 30. All Weather, Bridgewater’s other subsidiary fund, was designed to deliver more stable returns, but lost 27.2%.

Dalio will serve as a member of the board and still have investment interests, including his minority stake with the firm. However, his voting rights in the firm, which allow him to ultimately make the firm’s important decisions, will be lifted.

Co-CIOs Bob Prince and Greg Jensen will succeed Dalio, with him and the latter holding votes on each other’s conduct in 2016. Co-CEOs Nir Bar Dea and Mark Bertolini will remain in their positions.