Eileen Murray, the former co-chief executive of Bridgewater Associates, is suing the hedge fund over its alleged refusal to pay deferred compensation of up to $100m after she disclosed a gender discrimination dispute with the company. 

Ms Murray left the hedge fund, founded by Ray Dalio, in April after 11 years, including seven in the joint-chief executive role.

According to a lawsuit Ms Murray filed in Connecticut on Friday, “the circumstances underlying [the] plaintiff’s departure from Bridgewater have given rise to substantial claims by [the] plaintiff against Bridgewater based on gender discrimination, unequal pay, and breach of contract”.

“[The] plaintiff has sought in good faith to resolve such claims, but to no avail,” it added.

Bridgewater is allegedly withholding between $20m and $100m in deferred compensation from Ms Murray on the grounds that she publicly disclosed she was involved in a dispute with the firm over “unequal treatment” and “significant unpaid compensation due her”. 

According to the lawsuit, she disclosed the dispute to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ahead of being named chairperson of the industry body last month.

According to Ms Murray’s lawsuit, Bridgewater told her earlier this month that she forfeited her deferred compensation by making the disclosure. Her lawsuit called it “an improper gambit to silence her voice”.

She has asked a judge to rule that the disclosure, and others she might make to groups looking to employ her in the future, do not affect her right to the money.

“Bridgewater has used a false and otherwise grossly expanded, bad faith assertion under the terms of the [deferred compensation] plan to claim forfeiture of Ms Murray’s earned deferred compensation, all as part of a cynical plan to intimidate and silence her.”

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Bridgewater did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Ms Murray, a former executive at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, joined Bridgewater in 2009 and took over as co-chief executive in 2013. Since leaving the firm, as well as taking the top job at Finra, she has been named to the boards of HSBC and the Guardian Life Insurance Company. 

Bridgewater has had a rotating cast of senior executives in its struggle to find a successor for Mr Dalio, now 70. Ms Murray’s first co-chief executive, Greg Jensen, is now co-chief investment officer, and his successor, the former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, lasted less than a year. For the past three years, she shared the role with David McCormick, who is now sole chief executive.

The hedge fund’s performance has suffered this year in the market turmoil caused by coronavirus, and on Friday Bridgewater said it was cutting an undisclosed number of employees to reflect different ways of working since the pandemic.

“The world is changing in dramatic ways and we are taking steps to adapt to it,” said a spokesperson. “Consistent with our policies around meaningful relationships those people who are transitioning from the firm will be treated with generous severance and extended health coverage.”

Via Financial Times