Bill Gross, who manages the world’s largest bond fund, told the Financial Times and almost anyone else who would listen: “Do I wish I had more Treasuries? Yeah, that’s pretty obvious. … I get that it was my/our mistake in thinking that the US economy can chug along at 2 per cent real growth rates. It doesn’t look like it can.” Gross believed that future inflation would make U.S. debt a poor investment.
Gross spends too much time on CNBC and not enough minding the money that clients have given him to manage at PIMCO. The head of PIMCO, Mohamed A. El-Erian, is also in or on the media nearly every day. He writes daily comments on the economy. Between them, the two men signal PIMCO’s investment plans to any competitor or the most casual investor.
Gross and El-Erian might want to take a page from more successful investors, particularly hedge fund managers. Many see a value in allowing their results to speak for them. And they see no reason to telegraph their plans to the world. PIMCO, for some reason, goes beyond transparency to bragging. That is only effective when results outperform the market by wide margins.
It would be very fair for PIMCO investors to ask who handles the day-to-day investment work at the bond fund. It certainly is not Gross and El-Erian. They are too busy with TV appearances.
Douglas A. McIntyre
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