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Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha Is Up 11 Percent This Year

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund firm with $58.9 billion under management at year-end, is doing well. Its $37 billion (at year-end) flagship Pure Alpha fund is up 11 percent net of fees so far this year, including up 1 percent in June.

  • Stephen Taub

This has been a volatile month for hedge fund managers in general. According to several databases, most of them are losing money in June and many are down for the year.

This is especially true among macro managers even though they theoretically have the most latitude to navigate through a wide variety of markets to find the best strategy.

However, one macro firm that is doing well this year is Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund firm with $58.9 billion under management at year-end, up about 70 percent from the prior year. Its $37 billion (at year-end) flagship Pure Alpha fund is up 11 percent net of fees so far this year, including up 1 percent in June.

According to a knowledgeable source, the fund is making money in every asset class it had exposure to. It has done especially well being long bonds globally, long commodities, and emerging markets foreign exchange versus the dollar. Dalio is said to play more than 100 different markets throughout the world.

Last year Dalio personally made $3.1 billion — including gains on his own capital — when Pure Alpha surged a record 44.8 percent. Before that, he generated single-digit returns in four of the five previous years. Back in March, he said on CNBC he thinks the U.S. dollar will lose its role as a reserve currency. Rather, emerging market currencies and gold will play a larger role over the next decade, he said. Dalio also was bullish on U.S. equities but more upbeat about emerging market equities and bonds.

Earlier this year, some reports likened the hedge fund to a cult. Dalio has written a document called “Principles,” which lays out the controversial management philosophy of Bridgewater. “I'll do whatever it takes to make the company great, including the difficult and uncomfortable things,” he says. He stresses that conflict in the pursuit of excellence is a terrific thing and is strongly encouraged at Bridgewater. Dalio also encourages subordinates to challenge their superiors, and expects every employee to express blunt honest opinions, no matter how painful.