Pacific Investment Management Co., a unit of Munich-based Allianz SE, is a global investment management firm. Known as PIMCO, it's the the world's largest and most influential bond investment house.
The firm is in expansion mode, with plans to grow its retail business, targeting individuals and financial advisers. It recently widened its lineup of open-end mutual funds and entered the fast-growing exchange-traded fund business. The company recently hired Neel Kashkari, the former head of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), to lead its new investment initiatives and hired two star portfolio managers from Franklin Resources Inc. as part of its drive into the equities business. The PIMCO brand had received a big boost when its flagship Pimco Total Return bond fund gained 4.8% in 2008, beating the vast majority of its peers, and recently became the biggest mutual fund in the world.
PIMCO, once a partnership, operates as an autonomous subsidiary of Allianz and maintains a flat management structure. It keeps a high profile in the media with its top managers giving frequent interviews to newspapers and on television. Bond star Bill Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer, is one of the most influential investors in the global bond markets. His profile only rose higher for loading up on mortgage-backed securities issued by federal agencies like Fannie Mae, when they were beaten down in 2008 but which later rallied. The company's Newport Beach, Calif.-based office is populated by early risers, attuned to bond-market hours. Its headquarters overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the gym across the street gets plenty of use.
Hate small talk? You might fit in well here. Bill Gross hasn't been to a cocktail party in over 10 years. He penned a recent Investment Outlook column on his distaste for social blather. "Ninety seconds into a typical conversation, no one gives a damn about you and your problems," he wrote. He even included a "Cocktail Party Empathy Chart," graphing the length of a conversation against his interest in what his conversation partner is saying. He'd rather be watching Seinfeld reruns.
Pictures of three men hang in his office: banker J.P. Morgan, stock trader Jesse Livermore and financier Bernard Baruch. Gross says he has gleaned career advice from the lives of each man.
Prior to interviewing at PIMCO, consider picking up "When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change," by PIMCO CEO and co-chief investment officer Mohamed El-Erian.