By John Gittelsohn
(Bloomberg) --Legendary bond manager Bill Gross’s performance has been “disappointing,” and will take time for him to recover from losses and outflows, according to Dick Weil, the chief executive officer of asset manager Janus Henderson Group Plc.
“I think the sort of underperformance we’re seeing is challenging and disappointing to him more than any of us,” Weil said Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’ll take some time to dig his way out.”
Gross’s Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund ended July at $1.25 billion, down almost $1 billion from its peak in February. Gross’s fund has lost about 7 percent this year. Weil hired the legendary bond manager in 2014 from Pacific Management Investment Co., where they worked together before Weil became CEO of Janus Capital in 2010.
Weil said he still has faith in Gross as a money manager.
“In time, he’ll come back around,” Weil said. “Bill’s a terrific investor and a terrific strong player.”
Weil, 55, was named on July 31 as sole CEO of the London-based firm that manages $370 billion, after the board chose him over Andrew Formica, his co-CEO since the May 2017 merger of Janus Capital and Henderson Group. Janus shares fell 8 percent after the announcement, the most since the two firms joined.
“The good news is it happened a little faster than expected,” Weil said of the selection of a single CEO.
The company’s stock has dropped 24 percent this year through Wednesday, compared with a decline of 7 percent for S&P’s index of 18 asset managers and custody banks.
Janus Henderson investors pulled a net $5.4 billion this year through June 30, raising questions about the rationale for the merger, which aimed to open new selling opportunities in Europe for Denver-based Janus and in North America for London-based Henderson.
Weil said his firm and other active managers face an uphill struggle to compete with lower-fee passive money managers.
“Passive has clearly won the marketing battle to a great extent,” Weil said. “We have to fight back a little bit more effectively. I think people have a sort of unrealistic expectation of active and passive and over time we need to do a better job of educating them that we have a really good chance of outperforming passive net of fees.”
--With assistance from Vonnie Quinn and Caroline Hyde.To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at [email protected] Josh Friedman, Alan Mirabella