The Bridgewater hedge fund is headed by Ray Dalio, a man in his 60's who made his first killing at the age of 12 by putting all his summer earnings as a golf caddy into the now defunct Northeast Airlines. The son of a jazz musician and a teacher, Dalio took home around $600 million last year in earnings.
The Bridgewater hedge fund, also known as Bridgewater Associates, has assets to the tune of over $94 billion under management. Bridgewater hedge fund is based in Westport, CT and has roughly 1100 employees.
As of the end of Q2 2011, the Ray Dalio's hedge fund had more than 38% of its 13F portfolio in the S&P ETF.
The firm came under scrutiny earlier this year after reports surfaced of the culture at the Bridgewater hedge fund being "demoralizing", Dalio made a rare press appearance on TV. He had just recently published an office guidebook called "Principles", which garnered some rare criticisms of Dalio.
And last month, the campus newspaper at Dartmouth, where the Bridgewater hedge fund recruits, ran a piece that shed negative light on the hiring practices at Bridgewater. Namely, a student accused the firm of paying students for their opinions. The firm responded with a letter, saying they ran focus groups and as a token of appreciation, handed gift cards to the students who had participated.
According to recent reports, the Bridgewater hedge fund had returns of more than $3.5 billion just over a single week in August. That translates to about a 5% return in the flagship fund of Bridgewater Associates. That performance takes the year to date activity of the Bridgewater hedge fund to more than 20%- and that makes it among the best performers in the hedge fund circle.
Much of Bridgewater's trading is focused on so-called relative-value investments, or bets that certain markets and investments move up while others fall. That tack has helped lately. The Bridgewater team has been especially concerned about European growth and has placed positions wagering that Europe's economies would perform more poorly than others around the globe, according to people close to the matter.
Ray Dalio's firm has been holding currencies of various emerging-market nations, investments that have fallen lately after racking up gains earlier this year. But wagers on appreciating currencies, such as the Japanese yen, as well as German bonds have delivered gains, one investor said.Here is a video clip from CNBC revealing Bridgewater hedge fund's macro views: