JEFF GUNDLACH: When Bill Gross told me he was going to Janus Capital, 'I was kind of relieved'

Jeff GundlachWall Street WeekGary Kaminsky and Jeff Gundlach.

Bond king Bill Gross suddenly announced last September that he was leaving PIMCO, the firm he cofounded, to join Janus Capital to run a new bond fund.

But prior to that event, Gross contacted Gundlach about joining Gundlach’s DoubleLine Capital.

“Were you really considering having Bill Gross join you at DoubleLine?” “Wall Street Week” host Gary Kaminsky asked Gundlach during a web extra show.

“Well, it seemed like a good idea for the first day,” Gundlach said. “He called me out of the blue and we got together the next next day. And it just seemed like this phenomenal, to put it pejoratively, publicity generator, or stunt, if you want to put it really pejoratively.”

He continued: “But then, after a few days I was like, ‘How am I going to explain this to my investors?’ I could imagine new investors might come in because they follow Bill. He’s done a great job for a very long time time.

“But then, when they say, ‘How are you going to work together?’ The only honest answer — I always try to give an honest answer to things — would have been, ‘I don’t know. I’m sort of hoping for the best.’

“When he called me and said his decision was to go to Janus, I was kind of relieved,” Gundlach told “Wall Street Week.”

Bond kings Jeffrey Gundlach and Bill Gross have worked in the Los Angeles area for 30-plus years and had never met or spoken to each other, not even at a conference, until last year. Gundlach, 55, said that they actually have “a lot in common”, just not when it comes to their personalities.

“The truth of the matter is we’ve been managing bonds for three decades-plus, so we actually have a lot in common — maybe not in other areas, maybe not personality-wise, but there’s just a lot of shared experience there, so he’s pretty easy to talk to.”

Following Gross’ exit, it was later reported that Gross was going to be fired by PIMCO for “increasingly erratic behaviour.”

PIMCO said in a statement that the firm’s leadership and Gross had “fundamental differences.”

Bill gross

The backstory

At the beginning of last year, Gross was the subject of an incredibly unflattering Wall Street Journal article.

The inside account detailed how Gross clashed with Mohamed El-Erian in front of the other employees. El-Erian, PIMCO’s CEO/co-CIO, resigned from PIMCO in January 2014. Sources told The Journal that Gross referred to himself as “Secretariat,” the legendary racehorse. The article also said that Gross didn’t like it when his traders made eye contact with or spoke to him.

This was the first time Gundlach really discussed his meeting with Gross.

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