Bill Gross New Fund Had Just $66.4 Million Inflows In Sept

Investors may have pulled their money out of PIMCO in droves after former-CIO Bill Gross announced his departure, but they haven’t followed him blindly to Janus Capital Group Inc (NYSE:JNS). The Janus Unconstrained Bond fund that Gross is now overseeing pulled in just $66.4 million in September, reports Kirsten Grind for the Wall Street Journal, the equivalent of just a couple of basis points at the PIMCO Total Return Fund that he left behind.

Gross picked up less than 1% of his old fund’s outflows

It’s important not to make too much of the early numbers, Gross was only in charge of the Janus Unconstrained Fund for two days in September, but $23.5 billion poured out of PIMCO’s Total Return Fund during that time, and Gross took a lot less than 1% with him to Janus. The question now is whether inflows to Gross’s fund will spike in October as every bond fund in the country fights to pick up the slack.

Pimco Bill Gross Janus Capital
Bill Gross at the Morningstar conference in Chicago – June 19th 2014

If money only trickles in it would be a surprising vote of no confidence, and it’s possible that biggest bond trader in the market last week could be reduced to a niche player at the end of his career.

Gross will have a hard time winning back large institutional investors

The other part of the story is that institutional investors often has stringent criteria guiding their investment decisions that would make such quick reallocations impossible, but this doesn’t really work to Gross’s advantage. Right now his fund is too small for many large institutions to even consider investing, and even after he crosses the $100 million mark the new fund doesn’t have a track record to speak of. The difference between PIMCO outflows and Janus inflows also suggests that investors have had growing doubts about PIMCO (fund flows over the last year paint the same picture), and they only needed a push to go ahead and make a change.

Even if you still believe that Gross has an edge on other bond traders, including the ones he mentored, it could take time for him to mesh with a new team and a new corporate culture. Considering how unattractive yields are right now anyways, holding back until Gross can prove that his transition to Janus is successful seems pretty reasonable.