Most conversations about bonds or the bond markets will eventually include some mention of bond fund behemoth PIMCO and its veteran manager bond king Bill Gross.
In recent months, however, drama in the executive suite highlighted by the sudden departure of CEO Mohamed El-Erian has attracted the wrong kind of attention to the Newport Beach-based money manager.
However, the top concern for investors is obviously performance. And PIMCO has been lagging.
According to new Morningstar data, PIMCO’s Total Return Fund, the flagship fund managed by Gross, lagged 85% of its competitors in March.
And clients are losing patience.
During the month, the fund saw $US3.1 billion worth of net ouflows.
“The cumulative net outflow over 11 months since outflows began in May is $US52.1 billion,” noted Morningstar’s Michael Rawson regarding the fund. “Assets at the fund peaked at around $US293 billion and are now at $US232 billion.”
Rawson provided this chart showing the monthly flows. Any bar going doing represents a net ouflow.
And it’s not just the Total Return Fund. Firm-wide, PIMCO funds saw around $US7 billion worth of outflows. (These are just U.S. domiciled mutual funds and ETFs, so it does not include offshore funds or separate accounts.) Check it out:
Outflows are not an industry-wide phenomenon.
Competitor DoubleLine Funds, led by other bond king Jeff Gundlach, saw $US441.2 million in net inflows in March with the flagship Total Return Fund pulling in $US263.8 million.
Every good fund manager hits a rough patch, and it may be too early to count Gross out. But in the in the game of thrones among bond kings, Gross should keep an eye on rising stars like Gundlach.