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Ex-Pimco CIO to advisors: say goodbye to double-digit returns

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(Bloomberg) — Bill Gross, the former manager of the world’s largest bond fund who last month took over a new fund at Janus Capital Group Inc., said retirement advisors and investors should say “bye-bye” to the days of double-digit returns.

“The world is slowing down,” Gross said in a conversation today with Janus Chief Executive Officer Dick Weil that was broadcast on the firm’s website. “We’re doing the best of them all,” Gross said of the U.S. “But frankly it’s not like the old normal. It is the new normal where global growth proceeds at a very slow pace.”

He reiterated that returns will be subdued in the new normal, a view he and Pimco first expressed in 2009 coming out of the financial crisis. The 70-year-old Gross took over the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund this week after leaving Pacific Investment Management Co. on Sept. 26. Gross, who co- founded Pimco in 1971 and ran its $201.6 billion Total Return fund, left after his deputies threatened to quit and management debated his ouster, said people familiar with the matter.

Gross’ departure from Pimco prompted investors, including pensions and 401(k) plan advisers, to review their holdings with the firm and move money to competitors, including TCW Group Inc., Legg Mason Inc., DoubleLine Capital LP and Loomis Sayles & Co.

Gross, who had a bandage under his right eye from a minor medical procedure, said “it’s been a rough few weeks” since he decided to leave his former employer. He said he expects to live a “happy second life” at Janus.

‘Second Life’

“I expect my second life at Janus Capital to be a simpler sequel to my life at Pimco,” Gross said. “We’re going to make for a good team, not just you and I but a lot of people coming together.”

Gross’s new fund received $66.4 million in subscriptions last month, according to Morningstar Inc., a fraction of the $23.5 billion that left his former fund at Pimco. Among the early winners is a handful of funds, including the $36 billion Metropolitan West Total Return Fund. Run by former Pimco managers, the fund gathered $1.5 billion last month and has attracted more money in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gross released his first investor outlook at Janus, titled “You Only Dance Twice,” after the presentation, reiterating some of the comments made in the webcast.

‘Mathematical Necessity’

“We have had our Biblical seven years of fat,” Gross wrote. “We must look forward, almost by mathematical necessity, to seven figurative years of leaner: Bonds — 3 percent to 4 percent at best, stocks — 5 percent to 6 percent on the outside.”

Even with slow global growth, Gross said during the webcast that equity and bond prices are supported.

“In plain English: No significant bear markets,” should be expected, Gross said.

Gross said Mexico’s economy is interesting because it has half the debt of the U.S. and higher real interest rates.

“It’s getting close to growing up into a developed space,” Gross said in the webcast. “It’s not a teenager anymore