Home Featured Story Bill Gross–America’s Most Prominent Bond Investor
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Bill Gross–America’s Most Prominent Bond Investor

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William Hunt "Bill" Gross (born April 13, 1944) is an American financial manager and investment author who co-founded Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO). Gross also runs PIMCO's $252.2 billion Total Return Fund.

Gross was born in Middletown, Ohio, the son of Shirley, a homemaker, and Sewell M. Gross, a sales manager for AK Steel Holding; his family moved to San Francisco in 1954. Gross graduated from Duke University in 1966 with a degree in psychology. He then served in the Navy and earned an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1971.

Gross briefly played blackjack professionally in Las Vegas, and has said that he applies many of his gambling methods for spreading risk and calculating odds to his investment decisions. In the 1990s he authored two popular-market books on investing, Bill Gross on Investing and Everything You've Heard About Investing is Wrong.

Gross manages one of the world's largest mutual funds, focusing mostly on bonds. Called "the nation's most prominent bond investor" by the New York Times, he co-founded Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO) and currently manages PIMCO's Total Return fund — the worlds largest bond fund and fifth largest mutual fund — and several smaller ones.

PIMCO is a global investment management and solutions firm headquartered in Newport Beach, California and led by Gross, who serves as Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Mohamed A. El-Erian, the other Co-CIO as well as the firm's CEO.

Gross manages PIMCO’s Total Return Fund with assets of $240.7 billion as of December 31, 2010. He co-founded the firm in 1971, launching it with $12 million of assets. Previously, PIMCO had functioned as a unit of Pacific Life Insurance Co., managing separate accounts for that insurer's clients. In 2000, PIMCO was acquired by Allianz SE, a global financial services company based in Germany, but the firm continues to operate as an autonomous subsidiary.

PIMCO oversees investments totaling more than $1 trillion on behalf of a wide range of clients, including millions of retirement savers, public and private pension plans, educational institutions, central banks, foundations and endowments.

In September 2008, by holding large positions in agency backed mortgage bonds of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Gross reportedly netted $1.7 billion after the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A PHILANTHROPIST WHO COLLECTS STAMPS

Gross is a prominent stamp collector. In 2005 he became the third person (after Robert Zoellner in the 1990s and Benjamin K Miller pre-1925) to form a complete collection of 19th century United States postage stamps. In 2005, he paid $2.97 million at auction for a unique plate block of the famous 1918 24-cent U.S. airmail stamps known as the "Inverted Jenny," featuring an engraving of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane printed upside-down. He then traded the Inverted Jenny Plateblock to stamp dealer Donald Sundman, President of Mystic Stamp Company, for a 1-cent 1868 "Z Grill" depicting Benjamin Franklin, thus completing Gross's 19th century collection.

He donated $23.5 million to Duke University in 2005, $20 million of which was set aside for financial aid. In 2006 Gross donated to Médecins Sans Frontières the $9.1 million dollars that he earned from the auction at Shreves Philatelic Galleries of his British philatelic collections.

In 2009 Gross bought a house on Harbor Island in Newport Beach, CA for $23 million and then tore it down to build a new home. In July 2011 Gross purchased the former home of actress Jennifer Aniston for a reported $42 million.

According to Forbes, he is the 564th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.

Editor Phil Robertson is an award-wining journalist and graphic designer. With a degree from the University of Florida’s School of Journalism, his career in journalism and publishing spans over 30 years, and includes positions as editor and publisher for several newspapers and magazines. During his career he has received a first-place award for investigative journalism from the Society of Newspaper Editors, and five ADDY awards for advertising design.

 

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