Just what damage was done -- or not -- by Bill Gross ranting in shades
The PIMCO leash is still pretty long, say RIAs, Morningstar analysts and others but the bond king needs to rethink how he manages the media in a hurry
Vanguard Group shows up as 'alpha' disciple with two new fixed-income fund launches as it surpasses PIMCO's $2 trillion with ex-Goldman Sachs partner now calling the shots
The $8 trillion Malvern, Pa. manager owns beta investing, but RIAs are demanding higher income -- hence market timing and cherry picking -- from their fixed-income allocation.
August 10, 2021 at 11:46 PM
J. L. Livermore
Maybe Bill just likes to think of himself as the next Warhol:-D and if you don’t believe me look at this pic of Warhol http://www.theimproper.com/art/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/warhol-polaroids-front1.jpg
Pretty good point.
Warhol has more hair. It, however, may be a wig. Both suffer from recession.
Does anyone think that these guys may just be good bluffers, i.e., lucky bullcrappers, with little to do with actual knowledge? Who would be the female version of Gross?
Lisa, I just want to take a second to expand upon some of my comments, if that’s OK:
1. “For a guy of his stature, who built up all of this good will with the press, he’s making these bizarre comments about hypnotizing journalists and trying to engage with the media in a room full of thousands of people. It wasn’t a PR disaster but just a strong signal that they don’t have any strong PR plan,” says Jason Lahita founder of Los Angeles-based http://www.riabiz.com/d/ficomm-partners-llc says. “It’s definitely not just him who is frustrated with the bond market. But that’s the blessing and curse of being the most high-profile and most visible bond manager.”
What I meant by this is that when you achieve “star” or “celebrity” status in finance, and your PR is almost all positive for a prolonged period of time, it is easy to become complacent. You may think that you are owed good press. But the media’s job is to report objectively and when your fund is getting pummeled, it is normal for them to take a hard look at your approach, scrutinize your firm and your philosophy.
What all too often happens is that people get defensive and go into reactive mode – which is what I think is happening here. Gross addresses the media from the stage, and in general terms, rather than sitting down with his team and determining what key messages he wants to get across, then going about putting those points out there one outlet at a time.
And my point about him being the most high profile bond manager was in reference to all the other managers who are just as befuddled and vexed by market conditions as he – the difference is that they can complain in relative anonymity because they are not named Bill Gross.
2. Another odd thing about the Gross/PIMCO media approach is that Allianz and PIMCO do not seem to be on the same sheet of music, in fact neither seem to possess the music at all. Mohamed El-Erian’s departure was another prime example of being reactive – they could have and should have coordinated the entire departure from a messaging stand point seeing as how Mr. El-Erian is still in the employ of Allianz as an economist, I believe. That was a major fumble. Sometimes PR people let the spokespeople drive the bus, which only leads to pain and suffering on the part of both the spokespeople, and the PR team. PR folks are paid to consult on communications for a reason – because they are supposed to know more about it than the people who hired them. So they must never relinquish control of the wheel. Take directions, allow for use of the GPS, you can even let them work the radio – but the wheel stays in your hands. I would take a PR person who is transparent about the possibilities for mistakes and adverse outcomes but remains in firm control of the initiative, over one who is afraid to do much of anything for fear of making mistakes, any day. In this case the PR bus is clearly being driven by the Bond King – and he is wearing dark shades – and it is careening wildly.
3. “Say Anything” was a great movie, but does not translate well to PR. One would tend to think that you can either be “on message” or you can be real and personal, but not both. That is absolutely false. Finding the balance however, is very challenging – for some, a constant quest.
Gross certainly seemed out of sorts but also slightly out of touch with reality. It worries me how much he seems to care about what people think of him, there is only so much time in the day – spend it on your investment thesis not your image. What worries me more are that people invest with some of the advisors quoted in this article – “he investsvin distressed treasuries”. What doesvthat mean. “Its hard to find another fun with as consistent performance or a similiar strategy, even though they dont disclose it, its obviously smart”. Hopefully these people were misquoted, if not, it scares me that these people manage.money.
J. L. Livermore
The old sage saith: “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see”. So if you had $200B to play with and lost $50B of it in the market swamp, what would you do and you’re in your 70’s and people are wondering if you’ve lost your edge. I wouldn’t read too much into it, I think this was Bill’s attempt at being coy. I highly doubt Pimco would put him on stage if he were losing it – now that would be a PR disaster of colossal consequence. Of course like any Eastern Block premier, we’ll never really know if the likes of Gross or Buffet are close to death until after its completely clear they are just propping the corpse up in front of the camera.