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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Bone That Gross Didn't Pick

News summary by MFWire's editors

Multiple times over his final year at Pimco [profile], Bill Gross offered to reduce his presence at the company or leave entirely.

That's one piece of the picture of Gross' dramatic departure two months ago. Yesterday in a five-page piece for Bloomberg, Mary Childs details the "fall of the bond king." Her long piece, built from interviews with 25 anonymous current and former Pimco employees, sheds a light on the tension between Gross and certain Pimco executives whom he tried to oust, and it reveals the many instances on which Gross offered to step back or out.

For instance, when then-CEO Mohamed El-Erian told Pimco a year ago that he would leave, Bloomberg reports, "Gross offered to step back." Then this August he again offered to step back, if Pimco agreed to fire two senior executives he suspected of leaking things to the media. In September, when Gross returned from vacation, he suggested finding a co-chief investment officer to share his duties, with a transition out for Gross planned for the end of 2015 or so. Later in September Michael Diekmann, then-CEO of Pimco parent Allianz, suggested creating a "sidecar" for Gross, under the Pimco name but "in a separate structure." Pimco countered by suggesting that they help Gross start a new company.

"That's a bone even a dog wouldn't pick," Gross reportedly replied.

For a deeper dive into Gross' final days and months at Pimco, read the full Bloomberg article. The piece also notes that outflows at Pimco's giant flagship mutual fund, the Pimco Total Return Fund once run by Gross, fell to $9.5 billion last month. Keep an eye on those numbers in the coming months as 401(k) plan sponsors (401(k)s held about $100B of the fund's assets before Gross left) implement any changes they've decided on in the wake of Gross' departure from Pimco. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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