Bridgewater Fired Forex Research Chief Over Office Romance

(Bloomberg) -- Bridgewater Associates, the $160 billion investment firm headed by Ray Dalio, fired a senior manager over how an office romance was handled, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Bridgewater claimed Bob Elliott, who was head of foreign-exchange research, didn’t properly disclose the relationship, the people said. Elliott told superiors about the relationship with a female colleague and believes he was dismissed without cause, one of the people said. The woman, who was at the firm for three years and didn’t report to Elliott, also was fired.

Elliott, who worked at the world’s biggest hedge fund manager for 13 years, said on his LinkedIn profile that he was no longer at the firm. Neither he nor Bridgewater would comment on the details of the disclosure, which was reported last week by Hedge Fund Alert.

Dalio runs the industry giant nestled in the woods of Westport, Connecticut, following a set of about 200 principles -- the most central of which is “radical transparency.” The billionaire, who founded the firm in 1975, demands that employees be brutally honest with one another. Meetings are taped and archived for future study and discussion.

While dating colleagues isn’t forbidden -- in fact, former employees say office romances are relatively common at the firm -- employees must disclose any potential conflicts of interest, according to the people.

Romance at Bridgewater has made headlines before. The firm paid a more than $1 million settlement to a woman who had a relationship with Greg Jensen, then the firm’s co-chief executive officer, the Wall Street Journal reported in November 2017. Jensen, now the firm’s co-chief investment officer, kept his job while the woman was put on leave. After agreeing to the settlement, she left the firm.

Jensen called the report “inaccurate and salacious” at the time. Dalio also called the story inaccurate and tweeted, “A good principle is ‘Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.”’

Elliott joined Bridgewater soon after graduating from Harvard University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in history and science, according to the LinkedIn profile, which also says: “After 13 years at Bridgewater, looking for new challenge in a different professional environment.”

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