For many hedge funds, success is elusive; the larger the fund, the more difficult it is to maintain outstanding performance. Bridgewater's Ray Dalio, who manages $120 billion in investor money, has defied the odds over a quarter-century. That in itself may not qualify Ray, 62, to sit among the influential. What matters more is that he has strong and a bit unorthodox convictions about the workings of the economic machine. The judgments that have emerged have been prescient. Ray was, for example, one of the first to recognize the risks of the excessive indebtedness and leveraging of the U.S. and some European economies. I have seen the respect Ray commands and the influence of the Bridgewater research. His strong support for Federal Reserve actions during the financial crisis, considered dangerous by some, is a case in point. His curious and active mind is reflected in the fact that, while he does have an oceangoing ship, his "yacht" is equipped for deep-sea exploration. At home, Ray and his wife Barbara help make sure that both our national and his family heritage of jazz is well maintained. In other words, it is a full life.
Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, headed the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board