PIMCO, the world’s largest fixed income manager with about US$1.6 trillion under management, has closed down two of its equity funds, which it has been nurturing since 2009, and lost its global head of equities.
While the closures amount to less than US$1.5 billion of its US$50 billion in equities, it is a setback in the equities space, which has proven difficult for the firm notwithstanding its sophisticated management culture and strong distribution capabilities in both institutional and advised markets.
The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday (May 14, New York time) following the PIMCO announcement that Virginie Maisonneuve, the London-based PIMCO CIO for global equities, who joined the firm only early last year, would leave of her own accord next month. But there are no immediate plans to replace her.
Doug Hodge, PIMCO’s chief executive, said in the announcement that equities would continue to be an important part of PIMCO’s equity solutions and that Maisonneuve would direct the transition and make sure their was an orderly liquidation of the two equities strategies.
The strategies to be closed are called ‘pathfinder’ and ‘emerging market equity’. Portfolio managers and analysts associated with them will leave the firm.
While its first foray into equities, in 2009, was via active management, all-but US$3 billion of the $US50 billion currently under management are in passive or enhanced-passive strategies. The firm has not yet marketed its equity strategies in Australia or New Zealand.
Maisonneuve joined PIMCO in January last year, with some fanfare, from Schroder Investment Management in London, where she was head of equities.
* Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)