PIMCO's Gross says flagship fund to remain open

COSTA MESA, Calif., Sept 30 Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:47pm EDT

COSTA MESA, Calif., Sept 30 (Reuters) - Pacific Investment Management co-chief investment officer Bill Gross said on Wednesday his popular Total Return fund has grown to $186 billion in net assets and he has no plans to close it to new investors.

PIMCO's Total Return Fund (PTTAX.O) has been the top-selling mutual fund so far in 2009, and posted its best month yet in August with inflows of almost $5.5 billion to bring net assets to $177.5 billion. That is nearly double the next most popular fund, Vanguard's Total Stock Market, with $93 billion.

"To the extent that you can continue to beat the pants off competitors and outperform the market, then it must be OK to keep on going," Gross, a PIMCO founder, told the women's investor group WISE at an event near his headquarters.

Gross said that PIMCO and others have asked if they should close the fund to new investors as it has grown over the last 20 years. He likened his challenge to that of an explorer walking in a canyon, adding that he would have the smarts to turn around when he hits a dead end.

"Up until this point, the passage through the canyon has been a wonderful one and there is no reason to stop," Gross said.

"But I would hope that at some point where we couldn't provide bottom-line results for investors -- which is really what PIMCO is all about and what the industry should be all about -- then we would close it down," he added.

The fund's net assets currently grow by $300 million per day, Gross said.

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