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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bridgewater's Culture Of "Probing" - Sex Scandal Strikes World's Largest Hedge Fund

In a complaint filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Christopher Tarui, a 34 year old adviser to large institutional investors in Bridgewater, has alleged that he was consistently sexually harassed by his male supervisor over a period of a year.  After filing a formal complaint with his superiors, Tarui claims that he was confronted by managers who asserted he was “blowing this whole thing out of proportion" and pressured him to rescind his claims.
The complaint further describes Bridgewater as a  “cauldron of fear and intimidation" where employees are forced to forfeit their cell phones when they arrive for work in the morning and areexposed to constant video surveillance and encounters with patrolling security guards that "silence" employees who do not fit the Bridgewater mold.
An article published in the New York Times describes Mr. Tarui's encounters:
In his complaint, Mr. Tarui said that the sexual advances began during a business trip to Denver in May 2014, when his supervisor “caressed the small of my back” while the two men were seated on a couch in the supervisor’s hotel room. Mr. Tarui said the incident made him feel uncomfortable and he immediately left the room.

But the supervisor continued to pursue him, Mr. Tarui said in his complaint. On one occasion, he said, his supervisor confided in him that he had an “itch to scratch,” and then asked Mr. Tarui whether he had ever thought about being with other men.” Mr. Tarui said he told his supervisor he “was not wired that way.” But his supervisor persisted, Mr. Tarui said, adding that his boss then “specifically asked whether I would consent to having a sexual experience with him.”

Mr. Tarui said he again rejected his supervisor’s advances but his supervisor continued to make overt and subtle sexual overtures well into last summer.  Mr. Tarui said in the complaint that he did not report the conduct out of fear it would become public because of the firm’s policy of videotaping confrontations between employees.
Still other employees complained of other "excessive" behavior at the firm.  In particular, several employees complained about an offsite retreat in 2012 with several top executives — including Greg Jensen, Bridgewater’s co-chief investment officer — where employees got drunk and went swimming naked.
We thought it appropriate to remind our readers of our recent post which highlighted FBI director Comey's fond memories of working at Bridgewater: 
Comey explicitly carried many of the lessons from Bridgewater, where he made millions of dollars a year, into his new role as FBI director, which pays significantly less but is for him a dream position.

“I went to Bridgewater in part because of that culture of transparency,” he told Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley during his confirmation hearing in 2013. “It’s something that’s long been part of me. I think it’s incumbent upon every leader to foster an atmosphere where people will speak truth to power. Bridgewater and the FBI are two different institutions, but I promise I will carry those values with me and try to spread them as far as I can within the institution.
In light of these new developments, we're left wondering which particular "values" Comey carried with him to the FBI and exactly how far he "spread" them within the organization.  As we've noted in our prior post, we were not particularly impressed with his ability to apply some of what we considered to be the more "positive" Bridgewater values:

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