Bridgewater to Offer Flexible Return to Work, Prince Says

Bridgewater Associates LP plans to offer employees flexibility as they return to work for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, according to Co-Chief Investment Officer Bob Prince.

The firm expects to move toward a blended approach with some staff spending fewer days in the office and offering opportunities for employees to exercise more flexibility, Prince said Thursday in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

Bridgewater to Offer Flexible Return to Work, Prince Says

The Westport, Connecticut-based hedge fund’s current plan is to have everyone in the office one day a week and smaller groups a second day, according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nir Bar Dea. The plan will start after Labor Day.

The decision is a departure for the firm, which is known for an unorthodox culture that prizes employees working intensely together. Founder Ray Dalio runs the industry giant following a set of about 200 principles, the most central of which is “radical transparency” -- a demand that employees be brutally honest with one another. All meetings are taped and archived for future study and discussion.

Prince said having staff work from home has been mixed.

“Ironically, in some ways, we’ve been more productive in the last year than we ever were, in other ways less,” he said. “Obviously the culture of a community is very hard to build when you’re not actually seeing each other.”

Financial firms have been struggling to figure out how to bring their employees back. Many companies are pursuing a hybrid approach, while others have come up firm plans for the staff to return.

Apollo Global Management Inc. has said that it will test giving employees the option of working remotely two days a week through the end of the year, Bloomberg has reported. Wells Fargo & Co., the U.S. bank with the largest workforce, is making plans to bring employees back into offices in September.

Among his other comments:

  • The Federal Reserve and the government sharing responsibility for the economy and fiscal policy resembles a form of “state capitalism”
  • Inflation will be one of the key constraints that will determine whether the Fed will have the latitude to pursue its policies
  • “Wealth is being destroyed right now in, let’s say, bonds,” Prince said. “T-bills and Treasury bonds, they’re no longer an investment asset, they’re a funding asset. And so that will eventually spread to other assets and drive their yields down
  • Dollar-denominated bonds “to a foreign investor will be relatively unattractive as the yields are low and the money’s being printed,” he said

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