Pimco founder Bill Gross may be known as the “Bond King," but in the last six months, his kingdom has been riddled with less-regal headlines. They’ve focused on the unexpected departure of the firm’s CEO and co-CIO Mohamed El-Erian, reports of clashes in the c-suite that preceded the exit, concerns about the company's culture and Gross’s leadership style, and outflows from the firm’s flagship fund.
During that tumultuous period, the firm has also made changes to its leadership structure, with the goal of being more specialized and inclusive, and it’s moved into a new 20-story corporate headquarters in Newport Beach, California. The Daily Ticker visited, sat down for interviews with a number of executives including Mr. Gross and got a look at Pimco’s own organizational “new normal” (to borrow from the firm's oft-cited “new normal” economic outlook conceived in 2009). Check out the video above for rare access to Pimco’s trading floor and to see firsthand some glimpses of their process and culture and to hear Gross’s view on how he’s been misunderstood by the public in the wake of El-Erian’s departure.
Compared to the hype of the headlines, the atmosphere on the trading floor was very quiet. It's been widely reported that Gross likes it that way. After all, we hear he spends most of his time not in his office, but at his desk in the middle of the trading floor. (Deputy CIO Mark Kiesel tells us most people get there between 3 and 5 AM, and they leave in the evening around 6 or 7. He says it’s not unusual to see Gross at his desk early, late and on weekends.)
Related: Pimco's Gross: Fed has succeeded, but U.S. still faces permanent slump
But Gross tells us he likes more “buzz and hubbub” on the trading floor these days. In the video he says he “used to like it quiet” and tells a story about why, involving one loud mortgage trader.
We discuss some quirky details, for example, he really doesn't own a cell phone and he handwrites all of his tweets for someone else to send. But with more serious concerns aired this year about his leadership style and portrayals of him as autocratic, where does Gross thinks perception has gone wrong?
"Because I am quiet and more inclined to think about ideas as opposed to be a 'how do you do' greeter," he says people have "sort of gotten the wrong impression."
Check out the video to see more including where the firm comes up with their investment ideas and their long-term secular outlooks, and what their process is for both.
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