Companies evolve. Fundamental values persist.
When I joined PIMCO in 1989, Bill Gross was already nearly two decades into his remarkable career as the leader of the company’s investment management team. Through the creation and execution of the total return approach, Bill redefined active fixed income investing.
Indeed, he was integral to establishing the investment structure and time-tested process that has made PIMCO the investment leader it is today.
With Bill’s recent decision to resign, the perception has been that there has been a dramatic shift at PIMCO. However, the reality is that while PIMCO has evolved into a globally diversified investment company, our DNA is fundamentally unchanged.
Our investment process, which lies at the heart of the value we offer clients, is ingrained – it is stamped into our DNA. Our culture of rigorous and open debate will continue to animate quarterly forums of our global investment and executive leadership, as well as the daily meetings of the Investment Committee. We remain a team-oriented organization. Indeed, it could hardly be otherwise in a firm which over many years has grown to nearly 2,500 investment professionals and staff stationed in 13 global offices, with nearly $2 trillion in assets and a full suite of strategies, including core fixed income, income, real return, enhanced equities, active equities, commodities, active ETFs and alternatives.
As is well known, though, teamwork at PIMCO is not about Kumbaya and participation awards. It is about inclusion and results – and delivering excellence to our clients. Given the complexity and fast pace of the markets, we know that to best harness the skills and talents of our 260-strong, global portfolio management team requires a process (and a spirit) of inclusiveness and the mental flexibility to encourage and accept ideas from wherever they are sourced. Yet, the sharp edge of performance and results are the ultimate measures of success – and we hold our people fully accountable for their decisions and results.
Our leadership changes this year are natural steps in our evolution and will enhance our ability to serve clients. We recently named 16-year PIMCO veteran Daniel Ivascyn as Group Chief Investment Officer. Dan has an exceptional investing track record. Morningstar named him 2013 Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year (U.S.).
There are a number of traits that describe Dan. He is smart, driven and decisive, yet inclusive and measured. But his modesty should not be mistaken for lack of resolve. Dan is a leader in the true sense of the word: He motivates his team to deliver by setting an example for all of those who work with him. In short, he is pure PIMCO.
Dan’s new title of Group CIO is significant: He is neither the CIO nor the co-CIO – titles we have used over the past decade. He leads a group of five other CIOs, each of whom has deep expertise and responsibilities for specific regions or asset classes. They include Andrew Balls, CIO Global; Mark Kiesel, CIO Global Credit; Virginie Maisonneuve, CIO Equities; Scott Mather, CIO U.S. Core Strategies; and Mihir Worah, CIO Real Return and Asset Allocation. Scott, Mark and Mihir now lead the PIMCO Total Return Strategy. Dan will continue to oversee PIMCO’s structured credit, alternatives and income strategies.
These individuals are all highly successful and proven investors. Before becoming CIOs, they had already been overseeing about three quarters of the assets clients have entrusted with us. Some have been working together for more than 15 years.
Importantly, as members and rotating chairs of the Investment Committee, they have been central players in distilling PIMCO’s key investment themes. PIMCO’s investment process is built on a foundation of our secular and cyclical economic forecasts and benefits from strategy ideas from portfolio managers and specialists around the world. At our Secular Forum in May, we formulated our broader outlook, The New Neutral. We believe global economic growth converging to modest trend growth rates and a global debt overhang will constrain the ability of global central banks to normalize interest rates. Since May, economic data and central bank actions have been consistent with our view.
We will continue to build and bolster our portfolio management expertise. We have hired more than 20 portfolio managers already this year and plan to announce additional hires in the near future.
Our most important asset, however, is our clients. I have been heartened in recent days by the numerous clients who have reaffirmed their commitment to us. I am confident that the vast majority will stay with PIMCO. However, I also recognize that we must continue to work every day to sustain their trust and commitment.
As CEO, one of my goals is to make sure that PIMCO employees come to work every day motivated by a stimulating community that values sharing ideas in a frank, yet collegial, environment. This is one of PIMCO’s core cultural strengths because, in the final analysis, deep engagement and the sharing of ideas are at the foundation of investment performance and superior client service – our first principles.
PIMCO’s evolution will only advance our ability to realize these goals.