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GIC and Bridgewater: A 20-year friendship

Published Thu, Oct 9, 2014 · 09:50 PM

IN trying to understand the relationship between the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Bridgewater Associates, the first question that comes to mind is why GIC chose Bridgewater as one of its external fund managers. After all, back in 1994 the firm was little known and nowhere near the world leader it is today. And few people had heard of Ray Dalio.

According to GIC's former Group Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Ng Kok Song, who took the decision to hire Bridgewater: "I found that Ray had a deep understanding of financial markets at the global level and had a systematic way of translating those insights to investment strategy. It was a rare combination. We knew we could learn a lot from him. He wanted to deploy his skills on a greater scale, which GIC offered. So there was a mutuality of interests. We took a chance with him when Bridgewater was small and untested. It has paid off handsomely for GIC beyond investment returns."

"A 20-year friendship" is how Mr Dalio describes the relationship, which he says has gone far beyond a typical commercial deal - and remains that way under GIC's current CIO, Lim Chow Kiat.

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