Bill Gross, in his 'second life,' says Janus role is simpler

Thu Oct 9, 2014 4:16pm EDT
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By Jennifer Ablan and Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Gross, in his first public appearance since his shocking departure from Pimco, said there will be more flexibility in managing less money at Janus Capital Group Inc JNS.N, but said he was disappointed over being forced to leave Pimco.

"I want to return to a simpler role, completely focused on markets, investment performance and serving my clients," Gross said in a letter released just after a webcast discussion conducted by Janus CEO Dick Weil. "It seems like a good time to turn away from the complexity of helping to run a huge firm."

Gross, one of the bond market's most renowned investors, quit Pacific Investment Management Co for distant rival Janus on Sept. 26. According to two sources familiar with the matter, he was expected to be fired the next day from the firm he helped launch more than four decades ago and built into a $2 trillion investment powerhouse.

"Had there been a reasonable way to continue there, I would have stayed to my last breath," Gross said in his letter, of Pimco. "I was honored by the trust of the millions of clients and thousands of employees over decades. They have been the center of my life's work."

Gross told Weil during the 30-minute webcast: "I think in terms of Janus Capital, like any successful marriage, we sort of chose each other."

Gross' Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund JUCAX.O attracted $66.42 million in net inflows in September, increasing its assets more than six-fold last month when Janus announced he was joining the Denver-based firm.

Gross took the fund, which was launched in May, earlier this week. Total assets rose to roughly $79 million at the end of September, a jump from $12.86 million at the end of August.

Gross was reflective about his management of the Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, which at its peak in April 2013 had nearly $293 billion in assets. Weil asked Gross about the transition from managing billions of dollars to millions of dollars.   Continued...

Bill Gross, co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), speaks at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014.  REUTERS/Jim Young