This is Jeffrey Gundlach’s first appearance on the IA 25. Click here to view the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles for each of the 2013 IA 25 honorees.
For the few people in the advisor industry who haven’t heard of Jeffrey Gundlach, the story goes something like this: After an abrupt 2009 departure from TCW Group, where he headed a fixed-income group worth more than half of the firm’s $110 billion in assets under management, Gundlach and 40 or so loyalists started up their own firm, DoubleLine Capital, in the face of a lawsuit charging him with misappropriating TCW trade secrets.
Gundlach suffered dark days, accusations flew, and he held the fate of dozens of people in his hands.
But they pressed on through the wilderness and kept their plucky startup going until the clouds parted, the lawsuit was settled in Gundlach’s favor, DoubleLine surpassed $50 billion in assets under management, and their flagship DoubleLine Total Return Fund (DLTNX) clocked in within three years as the best-performing bond fund in Morningstar’s universe of 300 intermediate-term fixed-income funds.
Today, Gundlach is described in the business media as “a legendary investment manager,” “a Wall Street savant” (even though he’s Los Angeles-based), “the king of bonds,” “a bond guru” and “a bond god.” Not bad for a guy who was sued for breach of fiduciary duty and illegal interference with clients just three weeks after DoubleLine’s founding on Dec. 14, 2009.
“We have the most popular fund in America,” he explained, with a charming lack of modesty. “People want to know about DoubleLine more than they should, maybe, but it’s won us a lot of attention. Being No. 1 is difficult on the competition, and they embark on negative campaigning. That goes with the territory. When fund of funds people talk to my competitors, my competitors want to talk about DoubleLine.”
Gundlach, meanwhile, is more interested in talking about the recent launch of his firm’s first stock fund, the DoubleLine Equities Small-Cap Growth Fund (DLESX), and the success of some pair trades he has recommended over the last year.