Tags: Pimco | Bill Gross | bond | fund

Pimco Total Return Lost $27.5 Billion in Month After Gross Exit

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 04:59 PM

The Pimco Total Return Fund, managed by Bill Gross until Sept. 26, suffered an estimated $27.5 billion of withdrawals last month, its worst month ever for redemptions.

The redemptions surpassed the $23.5 billion reported in September, according to a statement from Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co. today. Pimco’s main fund, the world’s biggest bond mutual fund, now has $170.9 billion in assets, from a peak of $293 billion in 2013.

Pimco is seeking to reassure clients after Gross’s resignation triggered the worst investor redemptions in the fund’s history, exacerbating a trend that started in May 2013 as performance trailed peers and investors removed money from traditional fixed-income strategies in anticipation of rising interest rates. Clients are reviewing their investments, moving money to competitors such as TCW Group Inc. and DoubleLine Capital LP or parking it in money-market funds and exchange-traded funds while they re-evaluate.

The largest daily redemption in September came the day of Gross’s departure, Pimco said Oct. 1 in a statement. The biggest previous monthly withdrawal was $9.6 billion in June 2013, according to research firm Morningstar Inc.

Prudential Financial Inc., former Pimco parent Pacific Life Insurance Co., Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Alabama’s Treasury and Florida’s state pension have all moved money from Pimco in recent weeks.

Gross, who co-founded Pimco in 1971 and built it into a $1.87 trillion money manager, departed after his deputies threatened to quit and management debated his ouster, according to people familiar with the matter. He abruptly resigned to run an unconstrained fund at money manager Janus Capital Group Inc.

Trailing Peers

Investors have been withdrawing assets from the Pimco Total Return Bond Fund in anticipation of rising interest rates and as performance lagged behind competitors. Returns in the past 12 months of 3.3 percent trailed 64 percent of comparable funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Over five years, the fund beat 63 percent of peers.

Last year, Total Return lost a record $41.1 billion from client redemptions, according to Chicago-based Morningstar.

The fund more than doubled its assets from $132 billion at the end of 2008, after weathering the financial crisis with returns that beat 83 percent of rivals. The fund ballooned to a peak of $293 billion in April 2013.

That year, Gross misjudged the timing and impact of the Federal Reserve’s plan to reduce its asset purchases. Total Return’s performance was hurt when former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke hinted in May 2013 that the central bank might scale back its bond-buying program, a signal that sent rates higher and bond prices lower.

This year, Gross bet on intermediate-term bonds which have underperformed longer-dated securities.

Usual Business

The new chiefs are trying to calm clients, saying there will be no major changes in investment strategy at Total Return. They aren’t increasing cash-like holdings in the fund to meet redemptions, Scott Mather, one of three newly appointed managers, said in October.

“It’s business as usual,” Mather said in a telephone interview in September after the management changes. “We’ve all been part of the team as members of the investment committee.”

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The Pimco Total Return Fund, managed by Bill Gross until Sept. 26, suffered an estimated $27.5 billion of withdrawals last month, its worst month ever for redemptions.
Pimco, Bill Gross, bond, fund
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 04:59 PM
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