Bridgewater Associates — the Westport-based largest hedge fund in the world — has responded vigorously to a New York Times story, which “06880” linked to yesterday. The firm says:
Although we continue to be reluctant to engage with the media, we again find ourselves in the position of being left with no choice but to respond to sensationalistic and inaccurate stories, both to make clear what is true and to do our part in fighting against the growing trend of media distortion. To let such significant mischaracterizations of our business stand would be unfair to our hard-working employees and valued clients who understand the reality of our culture and values.
While we all would hope that we could count on the Times for accurate and well-documented reporting, sadly, its article “Sex, Fear, and Video Surveillance at the World’s Largest Hedge Fund” doesn’t meet that standard. In this memo we will give you clear examples of the article’s distortions. We cannot comment on the specific case raised in the article due to restrictions we face as a result of ongoing legal processes and our desire to maintain the privacies of the people involved for fear that they too will be tried in the media through sensationalistic innuendos. Nonetheless, we can say that we are confident that our management handled the case consistently with the law and we look forward to its successful resolution through the legal process.
To understand the background of this story, you should know that the New York Times reporters never made a serious attempt to understand how we operate. Instead they intentionally strung together a series of misleading “facts” in ways they felt would create the most sensationalistic story. If you want to see an accurate portrayal of Bridgewater, we suggest that you read examinations of Bridgewater written by two independent organizational psychologists and a nationally-renowned management researcher. (See An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan; Learn or Die by Edward Hess; and Originals by Adam Grant.)
Rather than being the “‘cauldron of fear and intimidation’” the New York Times portrayed us as, Bridgewater is exactly the opposite. Bridgewater is well known for giving employees the right to speak up, especially about problems, and to make sense of things for themselves. Everyone is encouraged to bring problems to the surface in whatever ways they deem to be most appropriate. To be more specific, our employees typically report their business problems and ideas in real time through a public “issue log” and a company-wide survey that is administered quarterly. More sensitive matters are reported through an anonymous “complaint line,” and all employees have access to an Employee Relations team charged with being a closed, confidential outlet outside of the management chain for handling issues of a personal nature.
The company’s response continues. For the full statement, click this link: Bridgewater Response.