(Bloomberg) -- Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, said it’s planning job cuts because it won’t need the same number of support staff as more employees work from home and new technologies are changing the types of people it needs to serve clients.
“The world is changing in dramatic ways and we are taking steps to adapt to it,” Bridgewater said in an emailed statement Friday. “While this will produce more than normal attrition in terms of people leaving the firm this year, it won’t be greatly more than normal and we will continue to invest and hire in key areas.” Departing employees will get “generous severance and extended health coverage,” the firm said.
Bridgewater’s assets fell to $138 billion at the end of April from $163 billion at the end of February. The firm got hit by the coronavirus at “the worst possible moment,” founder and co-chief investment officer Ray Dalio wrote in mid-March, explaining that it had positioned portfolios to profit from rising markets. Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha II fund dropped 20.6% for the first half of the year.
The firm has already cut several dozen of its 1,580 employees, the Wall Street Journal reported, saying the moves affect employees in research, client services, recruitment and other departments.
A spokesman for the Westport, Connecticut-based firm declined to comment on the timing and the number of reductions.
Bridgewater is making the cuts as news of two high-profile scuffles with former employees have come to light.
Eileen Murray, the former co-chief executive officer, has been negotiating with the firm for the last three months over her exit package. One of her advisers said the firm repeatedly tried to pay her less than men in comparable positions in the two years before she left the firm.
Earlier this month, the firm lost an arbitration decision with two former employees. The panel of arbiters found that Bridgewater had brought a case over the theft of trade secrets in bad faith to slow the duo’s attempt to start their own money management firm.
(Updates with comments starting in second paragraph.)
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