237 · Biggest ‘n Baddest, Billionaire Bond Trader: Bill Gross w/ Mary Childs

Aaron Fifield Podcast Leave a Comment

Mary Childs—a financial journalist and co-host of NPR’s Planet Money—is author of The Bond King; a biography about industry titan, billionaire bond trader Bill Gross.

Bill co-founded Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco) in 1974, where he would become the worlds’ largest bond trader and revolutionise the market. Heading up the firms’ Total Return fund, Bill served as managing director/chief investment officer, until a shock departure in 2014.

While Bill’s widely considered a market legend, beyond the surface, I had little understanding about his rise to fame and fortune; the primary reason I was motivated to invite Mary on the podcast, as she spent countless hours researching and conducting interviews to produce her book.

In this episode, Mary walks through the life ‘n times of Bill and some of the standout trades that helped to put Pimco on the map—including a highly controversial position in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae during the financial crisis of 2008.

Topics & Timestamps:

Please note: Exact times will vary depending on current ads.

  • 01:50 – Bill’s desire for fame, primer on bond markets (and why it’s not boring!)
  • 14:00 – Breaking into bonds, structural alpha, 1983 Ginnie Mae trade, reputation.
  • 29:10 – Pimco’s positioning in the GFC, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae controversy.
  • 36:05 – Losing the crown, Bill’s shift in public perception, Pimco shock departure.
  • 43:15 – In summary, how Pimco became a powerhouse.

Bill Gross, co-founder Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco) | Source: Lucy Nicholson, Reuters.

Links & Resources: