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Pimco turnaround eyed as outflows narrow to $20 billion

We are on a good track for our 2018 targets: Allianz CFO

The owners of the Pacific Investment Management Company gave an optimistic outlook for the asset management firm on Friday, expecting a halt in net outflows in the second half of this year.

"Pimco is stabilizing," Dieter Wemmer, chief financial officer of the German insurer Allianz, told CNBC.

"Our return on equity was an annualized 12 percent even after what I would say was a mediocre quarter," he added.

Pimco is noted for its Total Return Bond Fund, once managed by "bond king" Bill Gross and at one time the world's largest bond fund. That relationship soured in September 2014, when Gross left and the Newport Beach-based firm has been trying to stem outflows ever since. The company also faces a tough time for bond funds at a time when interest rates are at historic lows and the search for yield is ever more difficult.

This time last year, Allianz said outflows at Pimco had continued at a rate of $32 billion in the second quarter of 2015. Now, the firm has reported that those outflows have slowed to $20 billion in the second quarter of 2016.

It has also stuck to its prediction that net outflows would fall to zero in the second half of the year. Wemmer told CNBC that Pimco is seeing some net inflows in some areas.

"Yes in the second quarter we still had 18 billion (euros) ($20 billion) in outflows but it was very much concentrated in one large customer and overall the outflows were very stable," he said.

"July also shows a small net positive so I think the Pimco team has done a lot to stabilize customer relationship, and performance of the Pimco funds should also help (so) that we can achieve our second-half year results."

Allianz shares sink

The logo of German insurer Allianz stands on the company's office buildings at Treptowers in Berlin, Germany.
Getty Images

His comments come as the German insurer reported net profit fell by half in the second quarter, hit by higher damage claims, the sale of its South Korean business and weaker investment performance.

Quarterly net profit was 1.1 billion euros ($1.22 billion), compared with an average forecast of 1.53 billion euros in a Reuters poll and 2 billion euros in the year-earlier quarter, which was favored by realized gains on equity and debt investments.

Allianz shares sank 4 percent during the morning session on Friday. Europe's largest insurer took a 352 million euro hit to net profit from the expected sale of its businesses in South Korea, which was performing below Allianz's target.

Nevertheless, Allianz confirmed it would reach its target operating profit of 10.5 billion euros this year, plus or minus 500 million euros, with the range reflecting uncertainty about natural catastrophe and financial market developments.

Group operating profit fell 17 percent to 2.4 billion euros in the second quarter, with revenue down 2.5 percent. Like other insurers, Allianz's property and casualty business was hit hard by European floods and storms in the second quarter, contributing to a 37 percent drop in operating profit drop in that business. Operating profit fell slightly in asset management, where Allianz is struggling to stem investor withdrawals.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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