Gundlach fires back at report saying investors are fleeing his biggest fund

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a story that highlighted declining assets under management for “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach’s DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund.

After holding as much as $US61.7 billion in assets last September, the fund saw outflows in each of the next nine months and saw that number fall 13% to $US53.6 billion as of July 31, according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s happened at a time when competing funds have taken in net inflows of 7.2%, the report said.

The WSJ attributed the flagging interest to the fund’s slowing outperformance relative to peers. While the Total Return Bond Fund beat 90% of its competition over the previous three- and five-year stretches, it’s only outpacing them by 59% in 2017, data from Morningstar show.

Gundlach was less than thrilled with the story, and took to his Twitter account to voice his displeasure. Here’s what he had to say about it hours after publication:

Gundlach also took issue with the anecdotal evidence used by the WSJ to support the theme that investors are fleeing his biggest fund. What drew his ire the most was the mention of a retired orthodontist in Tucson, Arizona who’s pulled $US250,000 from the bond fund over the past 18 months, citing a lack of extra return.

The story also specifically cited Castle Financial & Retirement Planning Associates as a disenchanted former investor. Not to mention René Bruer, the co-chief executive at Smith Bruer Advisors, who reportedly pulled all of his money from the Total Return Bond Fund in 2015 amid concerns of overreliance on Gundlach.

This isn’t the first time Gundlach has responded sharply and publicly to reports made by the media. He’s had a combative online history with various news outlets since launching his Twitter account this spring, which saw him take aim at journalists he says misquoted his comments at an investment conference.

It’s also not the first time he’s had the WSJ in his crosshairs. Gundlach got wind of the story in the weeks leading up to its publication, and was already trying to discredit it before it was released. These four tweets are from last week:

While Gundlach’s response to the WSJ story doesn’t change the data-driven findings included within, it does show that the so-called “bond king” isn’t going to take negative reports lying down.

After all, his outspoken style and strong conviction are part of his appeal to some. And now only time will tell if he has the last laugh.