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The GROSS List: See Some Funds That Dumped PIMCO

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The surprising departure of Bill Gross from Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) has made it easier for institutional investor clients who already had issues with the money manager to exit. For example, the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System terminated PIMCO following the exit of Bill Gross and George Hopkins. The pension fund had a US$ 475 million mandate with PIMCO. Competitors like BlackRock, Dodge & Cox and other fixed income players devised strategies to lure longtime PIMCO clients. In September alone, US$ 23.5 billion left PIMCO’s total return fund. For decades, Gross was the “mascot” for PIMCO and a major commentator and bond investor. He scored more than US$ 200 million a year at PIMCO. In early October, fund ratings firm Morningstar lowered its rating on PIMCO’s Total Return Fund from “Gold” to “Bronze”. The ratings firm mentioned key management changes and the negative impact of investor redemptions.

Terminated – Institutional Investor Mandates Post-Gross

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Crown Property Bureau Moves Assets to Thailand King Under 2017 Law

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In December 2016, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn became King of Thailand, succeeding his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away in October 2016. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Three Successful Traits in Asset Management CEOs

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by Michael Maduell

In my frequent and vast interactions with chief executives of small-to-large asset management firms, I’ve witnessed a number of traits that successful firms – meaning growing and retaining assets under management plus getting real respect in the industry – are able to properly execute. Besides generating amazing returns and matching the right solutions for the asset owner clients, CEOs need to be advancing their firms. Of course, quality client service should remain front of mind for fund management firms. In this short piece, I will focus on three traits that successful fund managers tend to possess.

1. Abundant Charisma from Founders
What is memorable and what will stick in one’s mind? A cadre of asset managers possess charismatic chief executives. BlackRock’s Larry Fink, DoubleLine’s Gundlach and Rajiv Jain of GQG Partners are some prime examples that come to mind. DoubleLine is a relatively new player compared to BlackRock and already amassed over US$ 100 billion in assets. Being a founder of the fund management company also helps, as CEO hires (often bringing a book-of-business contacts) may tend to look elsewhere unless generously compensated.

Having an effective cheerleader CEO is essential in nurturing and growing a sustainable franchise in a monochromatic industry of imitators. Too often, CEOs of some asset management firms are pure “salespeople” – too pushy or fake, or a highly-bright number-cruncher with low or nil emotional intelligence.

2. Not Drinking Too Much of One’s Own Kool-Aid
“We are a data-driven, technology, ESG-focused, smart-beta, solutions-led provider of services.” Hey, 2018 did I get that right?

Yes, your stuff does not stink. Like a broken clock, many CEOs rely on the flavor of the year or grappling a playbook, beating the idea over the heads of pensions and sovereign fund clients and prospects. In the long-run – meaning maintaining assets over a lengthy period of time – I find it’s better to be more objective when discussing potential strategies. I’m talking about a healthy dose of informative marketing. However, being overly-transparent or even talking yourself out of the strategy is not what I am directly advocating. It is important to be realistic about the strategy or thematic idea, as the attractiveness of these concepts shift over time.

3. Stirring up Controversy – Strategically
Shaking the tree and stirring the pot – this trait can surely backfire if not properly executed. Being the brightest crayon in the box can work. Even virtue signaling – latching onto a social current – can work in some instances, but CEOs that can deliver impactful counter-culture statements that shock the conscience tend to draw attention – and capital. This might not be the best example; however, upon the ascendancy of Abraaj Group, the firm’s founder, Arif Naqvi, often commented to not describe countries like China, India, etc. as emerging markets but as global growth markets – then creating a comparison to Wall Street and its risks. Abraaj was able to raise a ton of capital, before its downfall stemming from early 2018.

Boards need to diligently examine the CEOs they select. Does the firm want to grow or hold the line for the planned dividend? My belief is that if you are not growing, you are decaying, as the world moves faster and faster.

The views in this article are expressed by Michael Maduell.
Michael Maduell is President of SWFI.
www.swfinstitute.org

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SWFI First Read, June 16, 2018

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State Street Names Maria Cantillon for Head of Sectors Solutions, EMEA

State Street named Maria Cantillon as head of sectors solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She will report to Liz Nolan, CEO of EMEA at State Street. Cantillon replaces Joerg Ambrosius who moved to another role at the firm. Previously, Cantillon was Global Head of Alternative Asset Manager Solutions at State Street.

Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani Face Federal Charges

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood-testing company Theranos, is facing federal fraud charges. Also facing charges is Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Both individuals were indicted on charges that they engaged in schemes to defraud investors, doctors and patients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). They both face two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. These criminal charges were levied after Holmes had settled civil fraud charges initiated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Russian Investors Chopped Treasury Holdings in April

Revealed in a report from the U.S. Treasury, Russian investors dropped U.S. Treasury holdings in March 2018 from US$ 96.1 billion to US$ 48.7 billion in April 2018. Before March 2018, U.S. Treasury holdings by Russian investors remained steady in the US$ 100 billion range.

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