PIMCO co-founder Bill Gross is known by many to be the man that made bonds sexy.Most recently, he’s often sought out for advice from government officials after correctly calling the mortgage crisis and the dot com bubble.
But Gross is also known for his character and eccentric lifestyle, which some have attributed to his successes in money managing.
But we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Gross' work habits have bred many successful traders and portfolio managers--he is known to leaves notes on his employees desks questioning their portfolio positions by the time they come in to work at 4 am and to admonish his traders when they attend investment conferences, saying instead they should be speakers at these conferences.
Many have pointed to Gross' yoga habit as a symptom of his West Coast surroundings, but the exercise is not uncommon among many financiers--Dan Loeb of Third Point and former BofA exec Sallie Krawcheck are also avid yoga practitioners.
Gross has also said he gets investment ideas from standing on his head during yoga.
After college, Gross hopped a train to Las Vegas with $200 sewed into his pant leg. Within four months of playing 16 hour days, he had turned that $200 into $10,000--money that he used to pay his tuition as UCLA's business school.
Gross also said he used experience from gambling to further developing his ability in analysing risk spreads and calculating odds on investments.
Gross got into stamp collecting when his mum had saved up old stamps in hopes to eventually selling them off to help pay for his college tuition. When it came time to sell them, dealers told Gross that the stamps were worth less than what his mum had paid for them originally.
But Gross held onto the stamps and continued collecting, saying he knew it wasn't a good investment but wanting it to be a successful hobby. He's spent as much as $3 million collecting every stamp produced by the U.S. from 1847 to 1869
Some of his collections have sold for as much as $500,000.
With long hair, an informal fashion and casual attitude, Gross isn't like many other Wall Streeters.
And unlike most Wall Street executives, Gross does not mind public appearances, frequently going on TV or speaking to the media, saying that the experience relaxes him and is like taking 'truth serum.'
Gross also isn't prone to schmoozing or travelling to network. Even when more publicity shone on him after the financial crisis as government official began asking for his counsel, he says he never met Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner until Oct. 2010.
PIMCO's graveyard silent trading floor is because Gross encourages his traders to use electronic communication rather than talk. In addition, Gross meets with his top executives everyday in a close door meeting--where blinds are drawn and no cell phone use is allowed, because he wants everyone to focus on PIMCO and the task of making their customers money.
During the height of the financial crisis, Gross was tapped by several Fed and Treasury officials for advice, and he said he worked 18-hour days as PIMCO was in 'crisis management mode.'
PIMCO and BlackRock were hired to be the lead asset managers of a $738 billion Fed program where the mutual fund bought debt from corporations in order to provide them with short-term financing during the crisis.