Most Big Hedge Funds Mandate Vaccinations for Return to Offices
(Bloomberg) -- Most of the biggest hedge funds, including Millennium Management, Bridgewater Associates and Point72 Asset Management, are requiring U.S. staff to be vaccinated before they can return to the office.
Many of the firms, which tend to have hundreds of employees in New York or Connecticut, are also delaying return-to-office plans until October or November, people with knowledge of their plans said. At that point, many will implement hybrid schedules allowing remote work a few days a week.
Hedge funds have moved slower than other financial firms when it comes to requiring workers to return, particularly Wall Street banks that sought to repopulate Manhattan office towers earlier this year before the emergence of the rapidly spreading Covid-19 delta variant. Their plans could change again, depending on how the virus progresses.
“There are several considerations that we are weighing when it comes to timing,” Bridgewater Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nir Bar Dea said in an emailed statement. “For example, how does this new variant affect health and safety, state and federal regulations, what schools will do?”
When Bridgewater fully re-opens, it plans to have an “all company” day once a week, when everyone must be in the office, he said.
Two Sigma Investments and Ken Griffin’s Citadel are among the few top hedge-fund firms that aren’t mandating vaccinations. Even though there’s no requirement for them to be in the office, almost all of Citadel’s staff are already vaccinated and back at their desks five days a week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Citadel, with $38 billion under management, was among the first hedge funds to allow employees back to the office, with some returning as early as June 2020.
Millennium, which previously instructed employees to be in the office for three days a week starting in September, told staff Thursday that those plans would be pushed back to Oct. 11, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Bridgewater, Two Sigma, AQR Capital Management, D.E. Shaw & Co. and Elliott Management also delayed their hybrid return plans to October or November, other people said. Meanwhile, all of the firms, including Steve Cohen’s Point72, are open for staff who choose to come to the office. Bridgewater has set up outdoor tents for people to collaborate safely.
Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, Point72, Bridgewater and Two Sigma are among firms requiring employees to wear masks when they’re in common areas or close to one another.
“We are going to have a dynamic workforce, which we believe will give our people better work-life balance,” said Danielle Pizzo, Schonfeld’s chief strategy officer. “We don’t believe the world will return to what it looked like pre-pandemic.”
|Hedge Fund||Vaccines mandated for in-office staff||Return to office|
|Point72||Yes||Voluntary for staff. Masks mandatory in common areas.|
|Millennium||Yes||Voluntary until October, then hybrid work structure.|
|Citadel||No||Voluntary; most staff in five days a week.|
|Two Sigma||No||Voluntary until November, then hybrid. Masks mandatory.|
|D.E. Shaw||Yes||Voluntary until at least Oct. 12, then hybrid.|
|Elliott||Yes||Voluntary until mid-October, then hybrid.|
|Davidson Kempner||Yes||Staff now in hybrid structure. Masks mandatory.|
|AQR||Yes||Voluntary until October, then hybrid. Masks mandatory.|
|Bridgewater||Yes||Voluntary until at least mid-October, then hybrid. Mask mandatory.|
|Schonfeld||Yes||Voluntary until Oct. 4., then hybrid. Masks mandatory.|
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