This website contains affiliate links, we may earn a small commission to recommend certain products. We greatly appreciate your support!

What Made Bill Gross A Successful Investor?

Bill Gross is one of the world's best fund managers. He was a former US naval officer turned to be a billionaire inspired by so many people.

During his career, Mr. Gross achieved “rock-star” status in investment circles after amassing hundreds of trillion dollars in assets for Pacific Investment Management Co.

As the founder of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), is popularly referred to as the “Bond King” Moreover, his company, PIMCO, was named the world's largest bond fund in 2014.

William H. Gross Business Career

As of 1971, Bill Gross controlled about $12 million of assets, in the same year, he founded PIMCO, an active fixed income fund management, with Jim Muzzy and Bill Podlich.

With the implementation of his unique investment strategy and principles, PIMCO has grown to become the world's largest fund, managing more than $2 trillion in assets.

William Gross had many times linked his mathematical prowess and risk instincts to blackjack. He had worked at the blackjack tables for some time after he earned his undergraduate degree.

His investing strategy is curled from his experience at the blackjack table. Gross recalled that he was counting cards for up to 16 hours a day.

Mr. Gross had only $2,000 when he started out at the blackjack; however, he had made up to $10,000 within four months, and that was when he had to leave to try out other experiences.

He served as a US military before founding PIMCO, and subsequently moved to Janus in 2014, and then retired 5 years later, 2019, at the age of 74.

I learned early on that without a client, there can be no franchise. I'm off, leaving this port for another destination with high hopes, sunny skies, and smooth seas!

Quick Tip: Mr. Gross was mentioned by Forbes as one of the top self-made billionaires and powerful people in the United States.

Bond investors are the vampires of the investment world. They love decay, recession anything that leads to low inflation and the protection of the real value of their loans.

What Young Investors Should Know About William H. Gross (Bill Gross)

“No other fund manager made more money for people than Bill Gross,” Morningstar, 2010. Morningstar is a fund research company.

It named Bill Gross the “Fixed Income Manager” in 2010 and hinted that investors Gross' fund was “$47 billion wealthier for the decade” as per their calculation.

  • Bill Gross is inarguably one of the most successful investors in the world; however, he somehow feels guilty for earning his $1.5 billion worth at the expense of laborers. Thus, Mr. Gross is on the side that scrooges should be made to pay higher taxes.
  • In his prime, Bill is known as the “Bond King” due to significant efforts that pushed his PIMCO company to the topmost top as of 2014.
  • The most recent update, on Bill Gross' net worth, January 2020, sees the legendary funds' manager has a net worth of $1.5 billion. He had worth over $2 billion some years prior.
  • Mr. Gross' favorite investment was “Stamps.” He reportedly spent around $100 million, investing in stamps.
  • One thing Bill Gross enjoys doing is releasing monthly newsletters where he predicts markets’ activity. But after he retired, he stopped releasing the newsletters – the last he sent out was in October 2019.
  • Generally, William Gross has a unique personality and he plans to blow away all his fortune to his philanthropic engagements.
  • William Gross was able to beat the market many times during his career days. He exploited the “element of certainty” while “mastering the element of uncertainly.”
  • For Mr. Gross, “Certainty” included variables like yields, credit ratings, duration, maturities, and a measure of risk.
  • His philosophy is, the longer a bond's duration, the more wildly the bond's price would fluctuate when rates change. This triggers cautious investors to prefer shorter-term duration to curb the price volatility that applies when the interest rates change.
  • Also, Mr. Gross carefully took advantage of “uncertainty” by making calculated and accurate speculations towards interest rates, inflation, and other variables that affect the markets.
  • In 2008, when Wall Street collapsed, Mr. Gross emerged as one of the most influential financiers in the United States. In that same year, he supported the Obama administration's strategy, P.P.I.P., which represented the Public-Private Investment Program. The program was expected to enlist private investors and bail out failing banks in a bid to revive the nation's economy.
  • Bill Gross had owned a $39 million Laguna Beach house because he needed privacy. However, he lost the house to his divorced wife. He also forfeited a number of other fortunes as per the divorce agreement.

According to Financial Times in March 2019, “Active, aggressive bond investing was Gross’ big innovation.”

His Investment Approach

Bonds as an asset class will always be needed, not just by insurance companies and pension funds but by aging boomers.

While many investors paid zero attention to stamp collection, that seems to be Bill Gross' favorite investment as he reportedly spent around $100 million of his fortune buying stamps.

Stamps were among Bill's most profitable investments; he had sold a small portion of his collection about 4 times his basic investment at a charity auction.

In 2018, he sold another portion for $10 million. But before then, between 2007 and 2014, Bill Gross reportedly sold his non-U.S. stamps for $27 million and shared the proceeds among different charities.

According to Mr. Gross, the gains from stamp investment is “better than the stock market.”

In the US, stamps are seen as alternative investments; however, about 64% of Chinese millionaires are reportedly stamp investors.

Regardless, stamps practically do not correlate with traded securities, and thus, they are not hit by market swings, which means steady returns.

Going further, Bill Gross believes that a bond can be denominated in non-dollar currencies. The legendary fund manager states that all bonds have “carry” in the following form(s):

  • Maturity risk
  • Credit risk
  • Volatility risk
  • Curve risk
  • Currency risk

However, it seems like most investors are more concerned about maturity risk while adding bonds to their portfolio, and this is one of the reasons why bond investments are a successful alternative to stocks as of 2012 since the yields fell from 15¼ percent to 2½ percent between 1981 and 2012.

Gross’ Advice For Bond Managers

As an investor that is successful in bond investments, Bill has some important tips for existing and aspiring bond managers.

  • Bill advises bond managers to adopt the new world of near-zero percent bound interest rates, as well as accept the possibilities of lower total returns.
  • Secondly, Mr. Gross believes that reducing maturity is not the only potential strategy to gain in the new bonds market. More so, the near-zero interest yields may cause stern focus in maturity to be counterproductive.
  • Gross believes that when bond managers focus on “carry” and its diversifying characteristic components, such managers can checkmate downside risks.
  • Managers must note that “Carry” consists of credit spreads, maturity extension, volatility, yield curve differences, and currency components.

He, several times, pitched PIMCO whenever he was interviewed. However, when he left the organization to join its competitor, he applied his strategies yet again and skyrocketed the company, Janus.

Gross wasn't happy how he left PIMCO, and so he filed a lawsuit. However, PIMCO and Gross reached an agreement to settle their issue out of court.

There was no news about the monetary aspect, but insiders' reports alleged around $81 million. Bill Gross was honored by PIMCO as one of the people that founded the organization – this they did by creating “Founders Room.”

Furthermore, Mr. Gross was named the director emeritus of the PIMCO's charitable foundation.

What Else Is There To Learn From Him?

Bill Gross crafted his winning fund management strategy what he learned about risk at the gambling tables. He was literally a speculator, predicting in the direction of the market's price.

One thing Mr. Gross is renowned for is his passion for stamp investments.

He is not just a successful investor/funds manager, but he's also a successful stamp-collector up to the extent that he got a stamp gallery, the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Sometime in 2005, Gross formed a complete collection of the 19th century U.S. postage stamps, and he auctioned off a collection of British stamps, which earned him proceeds that amount to $9 million.

However, he spent all of the 9 million dollar auction proceeds on Doctors Without Borders.

This is what Charles Shreve, the auctioneer in charge of Gross' collections, has to say, “The best stamps have shown a remarkable increase over the last 10 years. On average, they've increased two to three times”

As a philanthropist, Bill Gross has donated millions of dollars to different charity organizations, including Cedars-Sinai, the University of California, Duke University, and Mercy Ships.

Most importantly, William H. Gross, or Bill Gross as he's widely known, is a self-made billionaire. Gross had spoken a lot of secrets in his books about investing, Bill Gross on Investing.

Top Inspiring Quotes By Bill H. Gross

  • The market can move for irrational reasons, you have to prepare for that.
  • Make big bets when the odds fall in your favor — not big enough to ruin you, but big enough to make a difference.
  • Both from the standpoint of stocks and bonds, an investor wants to go where the growth is.
  • Stocks historically return more than virtually all other alternative investments, but that’s when priced right when the race begins.
  • If financial assets no longer work for you at a rate far and above the rate of true wealth creation, then you must work longer for your money.
  • It's sort of like a teeter-totter; when interest rates go down, prices go up.
  • Whether you're a top-down or bottoms-up investor in bonds, stocks, or private equity, the standard analysis tends to judge an investor or his firm based on how the bullish or bearish cycles were managed.

Summary

In summary, William H. Gross is a successful American investor, nicknamed the “King of Bonds” in his prime.

He was able to achieve serials of successful investments and now he's retired. Gross is a super inspiration to bonds managers – his principles are still being adhered to by most funds/bonds managers.