(Adds April net outflow figures from the Pimco Total Return
By Sam Forgione and Jennifer Ablan
NEW YORK May 1 The flight from the Pimco Total
Return Fund continued apace in April with investors withdrawing
another $3.1 billion, the 12th straight month of outflows from
the world's largest bond fund, run by Bill Gross.
The fund has now seen a total of $55.26 billion in net
outflows since last May, according to Morningstar data on
Thursday. The Pimco Total Return Fund had $230 billion
in assets under management at end of April, down from a peak of
$292.9 billion in April 2013.
April's pace of redemptions was even with the March
The Pimco Total Return Fund also continued its string of
lackluster returns in April of 0.74 percent, trailing 68 percent
of its peers, according to preliminary data from Morningstar.
The fund also trailed the benchmark Barclays U.S. Aggregate
bond index's return of 0.84 percent for the month. Over
the past 12 months, the fund has trailed the Barclays index by
1.45 percentage points.
Gross, co-founder of Newport Beach, California-based Pimco
and dubbed the market's "Bond King," is still dealing with a
public falling-out with former heir-apparent Mohamed El-Erian,
who shared the co-chief investment officer title.
Several U.S. institutional investors, including retirement
systems, said they are closely monitoring the developments at
Pimco and have formally put Pimco on "watch lists," a signal
that they will keep a much closer eye on performance than usual.
The management shakeup led Morningstar analysts to downgrade
Pimco's overall stewardship grade by one notch to a C in March,
reflecting a higher degree of uncertainty after the departure of
El-Erian and other key personnel. Morningstar analysts also
cited reports that Pimco's atmosphere has long been
characterized as a "pressure cooker" and that Gross has
demonstrated "at-times severe and reputed retaliatory
PIMCO ETF ALSO SUFFERING
The Pimco Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund, an
actively managed ETF designed to mimic the strategy of the
flagship mutual fund, also saw net outflows in April of $75
million, according to estimated data by Morningstar. Total
assets in the fund at the end of April were $3.4 billion.
The net asset value of the Pimco Total Return
Exchange-Traded Fund rose 0.73 percent last month, trailing 70
percent of its peers.
The problems at Pimco have benefited rivals.
Jeffrey Gundlach's DoubleLine Capital said on Thursday it
had $442.5 million of net inflows into its open-end funds for
April, the third consecutive month of new cash for the Los
So far this year, the DoubleLine Funds have seen $929
million of net inflows, the firm said. For its part, Gundlach's
flagship $32 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund
had about $320 million of inflows for the month, according to
The DoubleLine Total Return is posting returns of 3.1
percent year-to-date, surpassing the benchmark Barclays U.S.
Aggregate Bond Index, which has returns of 2.7 percent.
Ron Redell, the president of DoubleLine Funds, said: "I
believe the continued strong demand for our investment
strategies are attributed to our consistency in portfolio
management personnel and a successful long-term track record
focused on risk management and performance."
Newport Beach, California-based Pimco, or the Pacific
Investment Management Co, a unit of European financial services
company Allianz SE, had $1.94 trillion in assets as of
March 31, according to the firm's website. Gross is the firm's
co-founder and chief investment officer.
DoubleLine Capital, where Gundlach is chief executive
officer and chief investment officer, has $49 billion in assets.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione and Jennifer Ablan. Editing by Andre