By Jennifer Ablan
(Reuters) - Pimco CEO Doug Hodge played defense on Thursday, reiterating that Bill Gross’s departure has not affected the way the U.S. bond giant functions.
“With Bill’s recent decision to resign, the perception has been that there has been a dramatic shift at Pimco,” Hodge said in a letter to clients on Pimco's website. “However, the reality is that while Pimco has evolved into a globally diversified investment company, our DNA is fundamentally unchanged.”
Pacific Investment Management Co suffered a record $23.5 billion of withdrawals from its flagship Pimco Total Return Fund in September, with its largest daily outflow occurring on the day of Gross's surprise resignation from the firm on Sept. 26.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based fund manager said the Pimco Total Return Fund, run by Gross for 27 years who made it into the world's largest bond fund, is "well positioned" to meet potential redemptions.
The Pimco Total Return Fund has now experienced 17 straight months of outflows, totaling $92.3 billion. Assets under management have fallen below $200 billion, down from a peak of $292.9 billion in April 2013.
In his letter, Hodge said: “Our investment process, which lies at the heart of the value we offer clients, is ingrained – it is stamped into our DNA. Our culture of rigorous and open debate will continue to animate quarterly forums of our global investment and executive leadership, as well as the daily meetings of the Investment Committee. We remain a team-oriented organization.”
Hodge told Reuters on Sunday that over the last five years, Pimco has expanded into far more parts of the fixed income market and into other asset classes and other geographies. “The Pimco Total Return Fund does not define Pimco. It's an important flagship product of this firm, but it is not our only strategy," he said.
Pimco, he said, has grown to nearly 2,500 investment professionals and staff stationed in 13 global offices, with nearly $2 trillion in assets and a full suite of strategies, including core fixed income, income, real return, enhanced equities, active equities, commodities, active ETFs and alternatives.
“As is well known, teamwork at PIMCO is not about Kumbaya and participation awards. It is about inclusion and results – and delivering excellence to our clients,” Hodge said.
Pimco recently named 16-year Pimco veteran Daniel Ivascyn as Group Chief Investment Officer with “an exceptional investing track record,” Hodge said. Morningstar named Ivascyn 2013 Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year.
“There are a number of traits that describe Dan. He is smart, driven and decisive, yet inclusive and measured. But his modesty should not be mistaken for lack of resolve,” Hodge said. “Dan is a leader in the true sense of the word: He motivates his team to deliver by setting an example for all of those who work with him. In short, he is pure PIMCO.”
(Reporting by Jennifer Ablan in New York; Editing by Ken Wills)