It’s all smiles and eye contact at post-Gross Pimco

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Pimco has been hemorrhaging money since its founder and face of the company, Bill Gross, abruptly quit to join a smaller competitor back in late September. Morningstar estimates that the bond fund saw $48.3 billion in outflows across its funds in October alone. In a time of great upheaval, Pimco appears to be embracing a new strategy, one opposite from that of its former head. It’s being really nice to everybody.

One of the reasons for the breakup between Gross and Pimco was reportedly the way that the bond king treated those below him, with seemingly random outbursts and, of course, his no eye contact rule. Indeed, Gross’s new boss, Janus Capital Chief Dick Weil, has already acknowledged just a month in that Gross is "very demanding,” needs to be managed with kid's gloves and is better off working alone behind a closed door. And Weil doesn’t even work in the same state as Gross.

So Pimco is trying to make good with its employees who stuck around during the difficulties of the last few years. And how do you make employees happy? You write them big, fat checks.

The California firm just announced a special post-Gross bonus program that will hand out $279 million in payments to employees working below the managing director level who don’t participate in Pimco’s profit pool. The “Special Performance Award” doesn’t appear all that special, meaning it’s not attached to any particular incentive, other than showing up to work every day.

The bonuses will be granted in the fourth quarter and paid over the next 12 to 30 months, according to Bloomberg. Pimco wants to keep its team together. In fact, it’s already hired back three former staffers who left earlier this year, presumably due to the presence of Bill Gross.

Pimco is also being nice to its clients. It’s cultivated a new discounted fee structure that will last for the next 12 months in an obvious effort to keep institutional investors from taking their money elsewhere, to say Janus Capital.

Meanwhile, on a similar topic, Forbes just came out with a lengthy exposé on the “new bond king,” DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach. In it, Gundlach uttered possibly the most impressive backhanded compliment of all-time when talking about Pimco’s new Chief Investment Officer Daniel Ivascyn.

“He is their hottest performer in recent times,” Gundlach said. “I hear he is reasonably good at explaining things, the fact that he read from a teleprompter and couldn’t answer any of the real questions notwithstanding. I’m sure he’s articulate.”

That’s gold.

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