Feb 2, 2023
Bridgewater Names Karniol-Tambour, 37, Co-CIO for Post-Dalio Era
(Bloomberg) -- Bridgewater Associates is naming Karen Karniol-Tambour as its third co-chief investment officer as it continues to rework its leadership after billionaire founder Ray Dalio gave up control of the $125 billion hedge fund firm.
Karniol-Tambour, 37, will share the CIO title with Greg Jensen and Bob Prince, making her the first woman to hold the most senior investing job at the world’s largest hedge fund. She joined the firm straight out of college in 2006 and within two years began working closely with the two co-CIOs and Dalio at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. Karniol-Tambour then rose through the ranks to lead investment research and most recently served as co-CIO of sustainability.
“I’ve known Karen since I recruited her to Bridgewater as a college senior, and for all that time, I’ve admired how she lives our values,” Jensen said in an email to staff seen by Bloomberg News. “We are lucky to have her leading at the highest level of Bridgewater, and I’m thrilled to have her partnering even more closely with our leadership team going forward.”
Bridgewater is bulking up its top rank of investing chiefs less than four months after Dalio stepped down as one of the co-CIOs and ceded control of the firm. Bridgewater’s co-Chief executive officers, Nir Bar Dea and Mark Bertolini, have been putting their mark on the firm since they took over in January 2022.
Karniol-Tambour’s appointment is notable in a male-dominated industry. It’s also part of a leadership transition aimed at rewiring the firm for a future beyond Dalio, which Bar Dea has called a “must-win battle.”
The changes come as the firm’s hedge fund struggled to make money over much of the past decade and lagged behind peers in 2022, which was a standout year for most macro managers as soaring interest rates and market volatility ended a long dry spell for the strategy. The hedge fund industry lost more than $200 billion last year, according to LCH Investments, though macro funds tended to outperform others.
Bridgewater’s flagship Pure Alpha II fund returned 9.5% last year, after the fund gave back much of its gains in the fourth quarter. Through September, the fund had been up nearly 35%. The firm’s predictions for Federal Reserve tightening turned out to be overly drastic, according to a report in Institutional Investor last month.
Karniol-Tambour and Bridgewater’s other two CIOs have been predicting a return to an economic environment akin to the 1970s. Prince told Bloomberg last month that another shoe will drop in the economy and that the forces propping up inflation are still brewing.
Karniol-Tambour has served on Bridgewater’s investment and commercial committees.
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