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Bill Gross jumps back in the 'total return' game, first with a one-client, $100-million SMA, he tells P&I, but with a mutual fund on the way

The famed ex-PIMCO manager, 72, feels constrained by his' unconstrained' bond fund and wants to go -- despite analyst skepticism -- after the category that once put him atop $300 billion of assets

Author Janice Kirkel November 3, 2016 at 8:15 PM
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Eric Balchunas: Maybe he’s getting his mojo back, not like the old days, but taking in little flows.

Bill Gross


Todd Rosenbluth

Sherri Mitchell

Sherri Mitchell

November 3, 2016 — 9:09 PM
I read "Bill Gross" in the title and immediately clicked on the article. I was somewhat surprised he was referenced as "famed ex-PIMCO manager" and not that he works at Janus. However, he is still known for PIMCO and that will be his legacy. However, I was really surprised the Janus-Henderson deal wasn't referenced. Especially since he doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon. I wonder what the long-game might be for him. As for not integrating into the Denver-based ops; he's still in California, which is definitely a contributing factor.
Paul Damon

Paul Damon

November 3, 2016 — 10:26 PM
Nice article following from Mr. Diamond's interview with Mr. Gross and the nascent total return strategy revelation, which sounds like it has made for a tough week in the Denver corp comms office (or maybe he had the green light to divulge that). I believe there is a typo in a section header though regarding $2M vs the listed $2B per day; if Janus was taking in $2B a day across the entire complex, let alone one fund, then one might assume they wouldn't have sought a merger as Sherri notes, and would be well on their way to replacing Pimco or BlackRock as largest fixed income manager. It's interesting that the Old Mutual relationship hasn't been reported more. But as Bloomberg's article on the potential Janus Total Return strategy has the performance YTD of the the Old Mutual TR Fund at 6.3% as of Oct 28th, I assume the performance figures cited here, just prior to mention of Old Mutual, are for Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund. That brings up another point that advisors and inst'l consultants note frequently: Comparing a nontraditional bond fund to BarCap Agg - the consensus benchmark for intermediate-term bond funds - is helpful, but the unconstrained, multi-sector, absolute return, etc bond funds comprising the M* Nontraditional category don't all benchmark themselves to BarCap Agg. Instead, they use a range of measures (indices or rates plus a percentage (JUCIX uses 3-month USD Libor I think). That means performance comparisons to the Agg or nontraditional bond funds' listed benchmarks shouldn't be used in isolation when selecting products for clients, as the composition and strategies are so different than the Agg and listed b'marks so different from one another. Therefore, it is important to compare these funds to their category -- for Morningstar their Nontraditional Bond Fund category. Doing so, as seen on Janus' pages for the Unconstrained Fund, shows them amongst the top quartile over the 12-month period through 9/30/16 (98/418 for the I shares, 105/418 for the A). M*'s more timely data on their site has JUCIX 21 out of 397 funds, a nice jump over October. And for all the Pimco comparisons, it's good to compare this performance to Pimco Unconstrained Bond Fund (which Gross also managed from Dec. 2013 until his departure after taking over from Chris Dialynas), not Total Return, as Gross so often notes -- here we see that PFIUX PMs Ivascyn, Seidner and Fahmi are still very much nipping at Gross' heels as they are 28/397 funds. Regarding ETFs, the Bloomberg article by Gittelsohn and Weiss notes Janus seem to be on their way, with Total Return though and not Unconstrained, yet: "In a June filing to sell shares of exchange-traded funds, Janus listed a total-return fund as one of 10 different ETFs it might offer in the future. On Sept. 30, the company incorporated the Janus Total Return Fund LLC, according to the website for the Delaware Division of Corporations."

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