With the obligatory post-departure diplomacy behind him, Bill Gross is ready to take down his former employer, Pimco, and anyone else who gets in his way.
The man whom Wall Street calls the "bond king" began his new gig this week at Janus Capital after 43 years with Pimco, the firm he founded and which he left a week and a half ago in dramatic fashion.
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Now that he's settling in, Gross said he's ready to show the investing world that he still has what it takes to rule the fixed income world.
"I'm in it to whip the pants off anybody competing on the same football field," Gross told InvestmentNews, adding that it is his "constructive obsession" to beat the competition.
To make that happen, he's going to have to overcome a world of doubt.
Prior to his departure, investors pulled cash for 15 consecutive months from the flagship Pimco Total Return Fund, which remains the world's largest bond fund with $201.6 billion in assets under management. At Janus, Gross will be managing a fraction of that money, with the unconstrained fund he'll run boasting just $13 million in assets as of a month ago.
Undaunted, Gross said he has no desire to rest on his laurels.
"You know those adages about smelling the roses and chasing butterflies," Gross said in the interview.. "The markets are my butterflies and my roses. When I go to work Monday, I'll be smelling the roses."
Gross was somewhat less combative in a Barron's interview, telling the publication this week that he recognizes both the challenges he faces amid market doubters, as well as a different investment atmosphere as the Federal Reserve seeks to back away from its unprecedented monetary easing measures.
He does not believe the U.S. central bank will enter a fourth round of quantitative easing—the Fed's monthly bond-buying program that has pushed its balance sheet past the $4.5 trillion mark and helped lift the stock market nearly 200 percent over the past 5½ years.
"The political blowback would be enormous, and the Fed is worried about maintaining its independence, especially with an election coming up," Gross told Barron's. "Absent a catastrophe, which I don't sense, another round of QE isn't coming."
In related news, fixed income experts believe Pimco is likely to continue to see outflows after the loss of $23.5 billion in September, with a big chunk of that coming Sept. 26, the day of Gross' exit.
Outflows "will tend to be elevated over the next few months," Jeff Tjornehoj, head of Americas research at Lipper, told Reuters. He said Gross' noisy departure was "the last straw" for investors who already had begun to doubt Pimco.
Since Gross left, the $2.9 billion Pimco Total Return exchange-traded fund, a comparatively new offering against the mutual fund's 27-year existence, has seen $674 million in outflows, the ninth-worst of all ETFs during that period, according to ETF.com.
Pimco did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement announcing Gross' departure, CEO Douglas Hodge acknowledged "fundamental differences" over how to take the company forward.