There are only a handful of investment managers with celebrity-like recognition. Industry professionals will recognize names like Will Danoff, Bill Miller, Larry Puglia, and maybe a dozen other prominent equity managers. Fixed income managers get even less attention. While there are one or two modern fixed income managers with some name recognition (e.g. Jeffrey Gundlach), for many decades the highest peak was reserved for the Bond King – Bill Gross, founder of PIMCO.
Although Mr. Gross was the face and mind for one of the largest and most successful bond investment management firms in the world, he had had a prolonged falling out with the firm’s new owners – Allianz – due to tension about his management style. It was still a big surprise to the rest of the investing world when, about five years ago, he left the company that he helped start. Not to be contained, Bill moved across the street from his old office in Newport Beach and started a new unconstrained bond fund with a competing firm, Janus. After a few more years (and only a modest track-record) Bill is finally calling it quits. While the Janus Unconstrained Bond fund will live on under new management, Bill Gross is hanging up his spurs after 40 years. It’s the end of an era in active management. Happy trails.