Friday, September 26, 2014

Repost: "'The Time PIMCO's Bill Gross Acted Like A Cheap Prick To A Waitress'"

First posted February 25, 2014:
Although not today's story that's one of my favorite PIMCO headlines. It's by Bess Levin at DealBreaker, naturally, on one of Gross' 2011 letters, link below.

I used it again last year to top an FT Alphaville post by Joseph Cotterill that I intro'd with:
Mr. Gross has a letter out today that's a bit tacky and I realized the guy has some character flaws that may have an impact on his investing.
Today's stupidity is adequately covered at Alphaville:

No, Bill, losing money on bonds is not like dying at the Somme
I didn't know the half of it.
From the front page of today's Wall Street Journal:

Inside the Showdown Atop Pimco, the World's Biggest Bond Firm
After clashing with Pimco co-founder Bill Gross, CEO Mohamed El-Erian decided to leave the fund giant.

Pimco co-founder Bill Gross Bloomberg News
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—Tension increased at Pacific Investment Management Co.'s headquarters here last summer. The bond market was under pressure, losses grew and clients pulled billions of dollars from the firm.
Bill Gross, who co-founded Pimco in 1971 and is largely responsible for building it into a behemoth overseeing almost $2 trillion in assets, struck some of his colleagues as testier than usual. He argued openly with Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco's chief executive—something employees say they rarely had seen.
Mr. Gross—by his own admission, a demanding boss—had long showed respect for Mr. El-Erian and indicated that the younger man eventually would take over the world's biggest bond firm. But one day last June, the two men squared off in front of more than a dozen colleagues amid disagreements about Mr. Gross's conduct, according to two people who were there.
"I have a 41-year track record of investing excellence," Mr. Gross told Mr. El-Erian, according to the two witnesses. "What do you have?"
"I'm tired of cleaning up your s—," Mr. El-Erian responded, referring to conduct by Mr. Gross that he felt was hurting Pimco, these two people recall.

Later, after Mr. El-Erian told Mr. Gross he needed to change the way he interacted with employees, Mr. Gross, 69 years old, agreed to make adjustments, several Pimco employees say. But last month, Pimco announced that Mr. El-Erian, 55, would leave the firm—a surprise to both employees and investors.
In a note to clients, Pimco said Mr. El-Erian will leave in March but will remain on the management committee of Pimco's parent company, German insurer Allianz SE. Mr. Gross later said Mr. El-Erian wanted to write a second book and spend more time with his family.
Interviews with nearly two dozen individuals close to both men and to the firm suggest more-important factors in the departure: a high-pressure work environment that turned less collegial over the past year, a deteriorating relationship between the two senior executives and certain decisions by Mr. Gross that confused some employees....MORE
Dual Hat Tips:
HT: FT Alphaville's Further Reading post.
HT Felix Salmon at Reuters who writes:
It’s time for Bill Gross to retire
A word of entirely unnecessary advice for anybody on the Pimco trading floor Wednesday morning: do not look Bill Gross in the eye. Or talk. Or do anything at all to make yourself stand out or be noticed. Because Gross, who for most of his career has been the subject of some of the most glowing press imaginable, has just been brought down by a downright brutal article on the front page of the WSJ. Neither Gross nor Pimco will ever be seen the same way again, and indeed, if Gross cares at all about the long-term fortunes of the company he built, the best thing he can do right now is simply retire.

The story is illustrated, online at least, with a gruesome photograph of the 69-year-old money manager, looking sideways through yellowing eyes as he reaches out like something from a zombie movie. And it just gets worse from there, confirming all the worst fears of anybody with investments at the monster-sized firm.
Late last year, in front of a number of traders, Mr. Gross said, “if only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I’m Secretariat,” referring to the famed thoroughbred. “Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?”
That’s just about the worst possible thing for Gross to be quoted saying, given who Pimco’s clients are, and what they want, and what former CEO Mohamed El-Erian has been telling them, consistently, since he re-joined the company in 2007....MORE
Here's the DealBreaker story complete with a a couple special bonus gifts for our readers:
PIMCO's Bill Gross Tells Investors About The Time He Acted Like A Cheap Prick To A Waitress
included are the oft requested favorite "Bill Gross on Turning Down Loan Requests from Warren Buffett and Sam Walton (BRK.B; WMT)" and a put-him-in-his-place by Then-Dow-Joneser Matt Phillips:

Bill Gross: His Most Obnoxious Note Ever!
Where should we start? Bond king — or former bond king? – Bill Gross is out with his monthly investment outlook note. Mr. Gross is not merely satisfied managing the world’s largest bond fund. (Pimco Total Return Fund: $240.7 billion in assets in December.) Nay, he fancies himself something of a scribe, and his monthly investment outlook is where he talks his book for a few hundred words spicing it up with some belabored metaphors and a self-serving analogy, or several. But there are a few things that stick in our craw about this month’s note....MORE
So there! A lousy human being and he doesn't write well either!