Bridgewater plans cuts as some areas 'bloated, bureaucratic'

September 15, 2016 4:11 PM EDT

Ray Dalio, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates attends the session 'Where Is the Chinese Economy Heading?' of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund manager, said Thursday it is planning "significant changes to people, processes and technologies," to address a surge in staff numbers that led to its non-investment divisions becoming "bloated, inefficient, and bureaucratic."

The firm told clients in a letter that it has 1,700 employees, up from 1,100 in 2011 and 150 in 2001, according to a person with knowledge of the letter's contents. The changes follow a major shake-up in the management team that occurred earlier this year.

The letter, written by chairman and co-chief investment officer Ray Dalio and other top executives, said the firm was "conducting a renovation."

The changes come even as Bridgewater has taken in $22.5 billion in client money since early 2015, of which $11 billion of that came this year. Bridgewater oversees about $150 billion in client assets.

"To be clear, this renovation is coming at a time when our fundamentals are very strong: Our investment process is better than ever, our financial position is rock solid, our key employees who built the firm wouldn't want to work anywhere else, and our clients remain confident in us (as expressed in their collectively investing $22.5 billion in new money since 2015)," the letter said.

Ryan Fitzgibbon, a spokeswoman for Westport, Connecticut-based Bridgewater, declined to comment. The letter was reported earlier Thursday by Business Insider.

(Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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