Bill Gross has been retired for a few years at this point, and sometimes, it seems almost as if people forget who he once was. Once known as Wall Street's "notorious" bond king, Gross was credited with many great plays and plenty of terrible ones as well.
But the same investor who once warned that investors had been lulled into "dreamland" by central banks and their easy monetary policy is now making the media rounds warning that those days are over, and that investors better brace for rough going ahead as interest rates are raised.
He said all that and more in his new book, the aptly titled "I'm Still Standing", his first since his acrimonious split with his wife and subsequent downright cold-spirited spat with a neighbor.
According to Gross, yields are inching closer to the danger zone (although they declined again on Tuesday) thanks to the risk of inflation, which is spurring the Fed to act.
"Stocks and even bonds can thrive with low-to-mild future inflation," the billionaire wrote. "But anything beyond 3% and higher” is market-threatening. "Don’t get too excited."
US consumer prices rose 7.5% in January, the fastest pace in nearly four decades, as we reported at the time.
Producer prices continued to climb by record numbers in February, according to official data.
A Bloomberg index tracking a 60-40 portfolio of stocks and bonds has declined 6.7% this year, the worst such year since 2008.
Even more interesting than his market view, Gross offered some new insight into his departure from PIMCO, the California-based firm that he sold to Allianz before eventually quitting in 2014. Why did he leave? According to Gross, he was "fired" after telling one of his superiors from Allianz to "f**k off".
He wrote that he was ousted from Pimco, at least in part, because of a confrontation he had with the chief executive officer of parent company Allianz SE. During a meeting to discuss bonuses at the money manager, Gross recalled, he told then-CEO Michael Diekmann to "f--- off."
"I wanted to show that we were in control and we were the alphas at the table," Gross wrote. Diekmann replied that "no one speaks to me like that."
As for his depressing turn at Janus, Gross said it was mostly motivated by ego, and a last-ditch attempt to outperform PIMCO. The problem arose from Gross taking on too much leverage at his unconstrained fund.
"Why Janus? Or why not retire silently to a family office without the complexity of financial regulations and daily interaction with five or six new employees in Newport Beach? Good question," he wrote. "The answer is I should have, but didn’t."
He attempted to outrace Pimco while at Janus."My ego got the best of me there," Gross wrote. He retired from asset management in 2019.
Gross mentioned a few other hot topics in the book excerpts seen by Bloomberg, including bitcoin, which Gross said he expects will outperform the S&P 500, and ARK's Cathie Wood, whom Gross slammed as a "two-year wonder".