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World's largest hedge fund cuts dozens from staff as coronavirus takes toll

Stephen Singer, The Hartford Courant on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, has laid off dozens of employees as the pandemic hits its bottom line.

In an emailed statement, Bridgewater, based in Westport, Conn., said employees will be working more from home "so we won't need the same number of support people, new technologies are changing what type of people we need and how we serve our clients, and we also want to become more efficient."

As a result, the shifts "will produce more than normal attrition in terms of people leaving the firm this year," but it won't be "greatly more than normal," it said.

Those leaving Bridgewater will receive "generous severance and extended health coverage," according to the statement.

The statement did not detail how many employees are affected, but The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the layoffs Friday, said several dozen were involved. Those cut worked in the research, client-services and recruiting, according to the newspaper.

Bridgewater has received state financial incentives to promote job creation and retention in Connecticut. It earned $8.3 million forgiveness on a $17 million loan and accepted $6 million in industrial site tax credits, with $24 million remaining, according to the Department of Economic and Community Development.

 

Then-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in 2012 when announcing state financial aid that employment at Bridgewater stood at 1,225. Bridgewater has about 1,800 employees, according to its LinkedIn site.

As part of its agreement with the state, the company must retain 1,402 jobs in the state, said Jim Watson, spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development. If it adds 750 new positions by 2021, and maintains the jobs for 24 consecutive months, the loan will be forgiven entirely, he said.

The agency's next job audit at Bridgewater will be completed at the end of August, he said.

State aid did not win universal approval, with some legislators and others criticizing public funding for the hedge fund giant.

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