The World's Biggest Bond Mutual Fund Now Is ...
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The World's Biggest Bond Mutual Fund Now Is ...

Meet Joshua Barrickman, the new bond king.

Joshua C. Barrickman
Principal, Senior PM, Head of Fixed Income Indexing Americas
The $117.3-billion Vanguard Total Market Bond Index Fund [profile] ($144.4 billion if you count the ETF version, too), PMed by Barrickman, surpassed the $110.4-billion Pimco Total Return Fund [profile] as the biggest bond mutual fund in the world as of April 30. Bloomberg, the Denver Business Journal, the Financial Times, Forbes, the LA Times, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal all covered the switch.

Assets under management in Pimco's flagship mutual fund have fallen 62 percent from their April 2013 peak of $292.9 billion, partly thanks to $110 billion inflows since the September 2014 departure of former bond king Bill Gross. Yet Pimco Total Return remains bigger than any non-Vanguard bond mutual fund out there other, meaning it's the second-biggest bond fund and still the biggest actively-managed bond fund, and April 2015 outflows of $5.6 billion were the fund's smallest since Gross left and joined Janus. And under the trio that succeeded Gross at the helm, Pimco Total Return's performance is in the top quartile year-to-date: 1.36 percent, compared to 0.94 percent for Vanguard Total Market Bond Index and 0.91 percent for their benchmark index.

And of course without Pimco co-founder Gross, Pimco Total Return never would've risen so high in the first place. It wouldn't even have existed.

On the flip side, the Vanguard fund has not risen to Pimco Total Return's old heights just yet. Vanguard Total Market Bond Index is now 40 percent of Pimco Total Return's peak size (from April 2013, cited above); 49.3 percent if you count the Vanguard fund's ETF assets, too.

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