FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, on the subject of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, that he was “a big fan of transparency.”
When he was an executive at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, from 2010 to 2013, he was enmeshed in a culture of “radical transparency” unlike that of any organisation of its size.
In a new Politico article by Garrett M. Graff, Comey offers insight into his time at Ray Dalio’s hedge fund, including a strange scenario where a 25-year-old employee confronted him after a meeting. Graff writes:
“It was just weeks after he joined Bridgewater — whose corporate culture of high-achieving intellectuals resembles a moneyed management cult that shares more in common with the 1970s personal-improvement fad est than it does with a typical Wall Street firm — that Comey was cornered by a similarly new 25-year-old employee. The junior associate interrogated the former Justice Department official on a seemingly illogical stance that Comey had taken in an earlier meeting. ‘My initial reaction was “What? You, kid, are asking me that question?” … I was deputy attorney general of the United States; I was general counsel of a huge, huge company. No 25-year-old is going to ask me about my logic,’ he recalled. ‘Then I realised “I’m at Bridgewater.”‘”
Dalio founded Bridgewater from his apartment in 1975 but didn’t begin developing his intense management culture until the mid-1990s, he told Business Insider in March. He found that codifying his investment principles brought him success, and so he should do the same with the way he wanted his company run. It resulted in “Principles,” a manual of 210 lessons that all Bridgewater employees must learn.
Here’s a primer on what it’s like to work at the hedge fund:
Comey told Politico it took him three months to adjust to Bridgewater, at which point he appreciated the hardline culture. In a video testimonial on Bridgewater’s website, Comey said, “You combine that intelligence, the depth and the almost 360 [degree] vector of the questioning, there is no more demanding, probing, questioning environment in the world than Bridgewater.”
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