Like Lear berating his children for their lack of faith in him, bond king Bill Gross
made an impassioned, and often charming, case for the continued relevance of his investing philosophy to a roomful of finance executives at the 2014 Morningstar Investment Conference
During a luncheon speech, which started with him sporting a set of cool dark shades and jokes about whether he was a chastised General Patton, a 70-year-old Justin Bieber, or a Kim Kardashian impersonator, Pimco
's Gross first joked that maybe he could benefit from a little hypnosis.
"When you are 70-years-old, you need things. You need props," he joked.
His comedic routine continued with a discussion about the two versions of the film The Manchurian Candidate
, one starring Denzel Washington and the other Frank Sinatra, and how enemy forces used hypnosis to convince members of a platoon to commit to one particular story about one army officer in a major conspiracy.
He envisioned card games with reporters and the pulling of two Red Queens to complete the hypnotic process.
We'll flip the cards and hopefully there will be a pair of red queens just like in the Manchurian Candidate.
Repeat after me, Bill Gross is the kindest, bravest, warmest and most wonderful person you would ever meet.
I have take some self help courses in hypnotism myself.
Reporters are the kindest, bravest, warmest and most wonderful human beings I have ever met in my life.
Playing cards can be great therapy.
Gross wanted to put the audience into a trance over the idea of "the new neutral," the idea that the Federal Reserve needs to implement policies that would move real rates from the minus 1.25 percent that he estimates them to now be at, to zero, the aforementioned "neutral."
This concept, he argued, is perhaps the most critical issues investors need to face when valuing assets and it is crucial for the Fed to get right.
During his spellbinding, Gross made arguments in favor of Pimco's continued ability to work its magic. He described his firm's three investing templates, which include the utilization of the "bond plus" strategy, which he argued involves interest rate futures and swaps that essential transform treasury investments into something that resemble corporate moves. The other templates include focusing on intermediate durations and volatility sales involving 30-year mortgages.
These strategies, he argued, give Pimco investments a 75 bp performance advantage each year. He vowed that Pimco would perform handsomely this year.
Did he put the audience under a trance? It's hard to say. His speech was long and in a format that would have made most ToastMaster International
officials faint. Gross, clearly a brilliant man in the analysis of debt and in the appreciation of Federal Reserve history, made use of many references that seemed to beyond the expertise of many attendees. His speech ran over by around ten minutes despite numerous signals by audience members.
Heard amongst the attendees as they left the luncheon: "Who gives a ---- about the Fed, besides him?"
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