By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - Pacific Investment Management Co regained its perch as the manager behind the world's largest actively managed bond fund, data from the asset manager showed on Tuesday.
The Pimco Income Fund grew to $79.1 billion in March, the fund manager said, a figure that tops the TCW Group Inc's once-largest $78.9 billion MetWest Total Return Bond Fund .
The achievement is a milestone for Pimco, whose assets were shaved after the acrimonious 2014 departure of founder Bill Gross.
Low-cost shares of the Pimco Income Fund are up 3 percent this year and beat the vast majority of peers over 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters' Lipper research unit.
"At Pimco we don't strive to have the largest funds, we strive to be the best," Dan Ivascyn, Pimco's group chief investment officer, said in an emailed statement.
"Our investment process and active management have produced significant gains for our clients and we believe the current environment will continue to present more opportunities for investors who actively pursue them."
Ivascyn manages Pimco Income with Alfred Murata.
Gross ran Pimco Total Return Fund, which was once the world's largest bond fund at a peak of $292.9 billion in assets. He and Pimco recently reached a roughly $81 million settlement of his lawsuit over the terms of his departure.
Investors have fled actively managed funds and moved money to lower-cost funds that track indexes in recent years. But fixed-income funds have been a bright spot for the industry, with active bond funds attracting $72 billion in 2016, compared to a withdrawal of nearly $358 billion from active stock funds, according to Morningstar Inc.
Pimco, which managed nearly $1.47 trillion on Dec. 31 and is based in Newport Beach, California, is a unit of German insurer Allianz SE. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Bill Trott)