NEW YORK Jan 25 (Reuters) - Scott Simon, a managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co who heads mortgage- and asset-backed securities investing, plans to retire from the manager of the world's largest bond fund, a source familiar with the situation said.
Simon's departure follows that of Neel Kashkari, managing director and head of global equities at PIMCO, who is leaving the firm to consider running for public office in California as a Republican, according to people familiar with the situation.
Simon's savvy bets in mortgage-backed securities have helped PIMCO, which oversees $1.92 trillion in assets, turn 2012 into one of its most successful years in investing. His departure was first reported by Bloomberg.
Mortgage debt is the largest holding of Pimco's $285 billion Total Return Fund (PTTRX) - the largest mutual fund in the world - after the firm last year repeated a successful bet from 2008 that the Federal Reserve would buy government-backed home-loan securities to boost the economy. The fund, managed by Bill Gross, was 42 percent invested in mortgages in December, down from 44 percent the previous month.
The Total Return fund, which is Pacific Investment Management Co's flagship bond fund, earned a return of 10.36 percent in 2012, besting 88 percent of U.S. intermediate-term bond funds, according to Morningstar. The fund also attracted $18 billion in new cash over the year, Morningstar said.