- Eileen Murray — one of the most powerful women in finance and the departing co-CEO of Bridgewater — told attendees at the SuperReturn conference in Berlin that hedge funds and banks need to do a better job of including their underrepresented employees.
- While Murray is happy that the gender balance on Wall Street has gotten better since she started her career decades ago, she believes the next step needs to be moving past having diverse employees just for diversity’s sake.
- “I don’t think there’s been a sufficient amount of time and effort spent on how to develop people.”
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Before she leaves her role atop the world’s biggest hedge fund, Eileen Murray has some advice for Wall Street on how to improve: Start including underrepresented people.
Murray, the co-CEO of Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, is planning to step down from her job next month. She plans to work after, doing something she’s “passionate about,” according to a talk she gave at a conference in December, where she did not elaborate further.
But on Wednesday, at the SuperReturn conference in Berlin, she told attendees that while gender diversity has improved since she joined the industry decades ago, finance still has a long way to go — and it should start by focusing on inclusion.
“I don’t think there’s been a sufficient amount of time and effort spent on how to develop people,” she said.
“We don’t focus on inclusion. People spend tons of money getting candidates in, getting them at the table, and then they don’t listen to them. They don’t include them.”
Murray, who was floated as a potential candidate for the Wells Fargo CEO role before Charlie Scharf got the job, acknowledged the progression from decades ago. For instance, she said that “for most of the 90s, everyone spent a lot of time making the case for diversity” and why it was needed in finance — a discussion she said is no longer needed.
It’s one of the reasons that she supports sponsorships, not mentorships, internally — the goal is not to train someone to be just like you, but to give someone the freedom and the backing to be the best version of themselves, she said.
“Let people be who they are.”
The culture of Bridgewater, outlined in Dalio’s book “Principles”, helps sponsors find the right roles for developing talent because a person’s strengths and weaknesses are constantly being monitored and updated by others at the firm.
In her role at the $160 billion hedge fund, she has realized she also has to create accountability programs to make sure people are following through on inclusion measures, including ones that are tied to managers’ compensation. Without that, she said, these programs fall to the wayside as day-to-day tasks pile up.
“I think without that accountability, the urgent overtakes the strategic.”