(Adds response from Dalio and Jensen)
By Jennifer Ablan and Lawrence Delevingne
NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates LP, the world's largest hedge fund, said on Friday that a Wall Street Journal story about a dispute with his heir apparent, Greg Jensen, was overblown.
The newspaper reported that Dalio and Jensen had gone as far as to call for a dozen senior employees and stakeholders to vote on their character and conduct in a bid to resolve the dispute.
"The article is a sensationalistic mischaracterization of what is going on," Dalio said in response to a query from Reuters.
"Greg and I have had lots of disputes over the last 20 years, and what's great is that we have a systematic process for working ourselves through them," he added in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal declined to comment.
Dalio, who founded Bridgewater in 1975, was specifically questioning whether or not Jensen had "integrity" - defined in a 123-page treatise written by Dalio as never saying something about a person that you wouldn't tell the person directly, the Journal said.
Dalio is chairman and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater, which has $154 billion in assets under management.
For his part, Jensen, who joined the Westport, Connecticut hedge fund 20 years ago and serves as co-CIO and co-chief executive officer, was questioning if Dalio had fulfilled the succession plan he set forth in 2011.
"This particular dispute has already been resolved via our process and Greg and I both expect to work together, probably for the rest of our careers," Dalio said. "I recognize that it's difficult for people who aren't in our culture to understand it, and I understand that distorted gossiping about it is going to occur," he added.
Dalio has said in the past that Bridgewater is run according to his management style of encouraging a culture of "radical truth and radical transparency."
"Bridgewater has a unique culture, and one of the most successful long-term track records in the history of investing. I suspect those two observations are probably connected," said Michael Rosen, chief investment officer of Angeles Investment Advisors, whose clients include those with money in Bridgewater funds.
Bridgewater encourages employees to air disputes publicly and then try to resolve them, a process that sometimes results in a vote. Dalio is chairman and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater, which has $154 billion in assets under management.
Jensen told the Journal that disagreements between the two executives have been "healthy."
"It's the way that they can be resolved that keeps us all here and resulted in the incredible working relationships that have made Bridgewater so successful," Jensen added. "I can't imagine working in any other place."
In a subsequent statement to Reuters, Jensen said: "This story is getting blown out of proportion. Both Ray and I are committed to Bridgewater. Ray and I have had (and will have) many disagreements. We have a process for handling them and both of us believe that process is working well. It is through this unique culture of open disagreement that we have produced the meaningful work and meaningful relationships that those who work here and our clients have come to expect." (Reporting by David Gaffen, Jennifer Ablan and Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Andrew Hay and Tom Brown)