Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio was definitely not happy when he came back from a 6-year sabbatical. His hedge fund Bridgewater Associates had not performed as he had expected. So, his corrective action was swift. His replacement had to go, staff was cut by 10%. A ‘renovation’ in Dalio’s words.
However, Dalio’s biggest move was to assign a team to develop an algorithm that will allow a computer to run the firm when Dalio is away. The faith in algorithms is nothing new to Bridgewater. Bridgewater is the biggest hedge fund around with $160 billion in invested capital. Investment algorithms that outsmart the competition is one of the bedrocks for Dalio’s success. It rewards him well: 67-year old Dalio’s 2015 pay check was $1.4 billion (..).
In terms of management style Dalio is a proponent of ‘Radical Transparency’. His top-10% employees get to know all the insights in the firm. His mantra: “Don’t pick your battles. Fight them all!”
So, Dalio recruited a team of whiz kids, listed roughly 100 Principles that summarize his management style and started to formally record – among others – meetings notes, employees’ personality tests, internal polls and cross-employee ratings. An algorithm compares all these sources and indicates who performs and who doesn’t, according how they operate compared to the Principles. Who doesn’t gets instructions on what to improve.
As far as information about Bridgewater’s progress on this one is available, the algorithm’s output covers directions for operational tasks, whom to employ for a specific project or function and hire-&-fire decisions.
Read more about Ray Dalio’s principles