Bill Gross of Janus Capital sat down with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker at his office in Newport Beach, California to discuss his new life, how he defines success and why he’s giving away his multi-billion-dollar fortune. On how much he’s given away, Gross said: “I think to this point probably $600 million to $700 million.”
Gross went on to say “We’ll give everything that we have other than our home away to either philanthropic causes that I’ve talked about, or to the foundation.” He said the amount he’ll give away “is staggering, even to me.”
On why he hasn’t talked more about his philanthropy, Gross said: “I guess Sue and I try and keep it quiet. We’re not the–not that there’s anything wrong with this,–but we’re not the type to attend functions and parties and galas. We like to work underneath so to speak.”
On leaving Pimco, Gross said: “I didn’t like how I left, so to speak Pimco. And I didn’t care for the aspersions that somehow I might have lost my touch. And I don’t think I’ve lost my touch, I’m in this seven days a week, and 18 hours a day, believe it or not. And that speaks to interest. And hopefully the performance numbers speak to competence…One of the reasons that I’m still doing this, is just to prove that I still got it.”
On whether he feels happy, Gross said: “I’m getting happier. You know, four or five months ago was a low point. Everybody has low points. And I’m not suggesting that was the low of lows. Having had the career I’ve had, my wife daily told me to get over. So hopefully I’ve done most of that.”
Bill Gross: We Try to Keep Our Philanthropy Quiet
The full interview will air this evening on Bloomberg Encore at 8pm ET/PT. Livestream available here: http://www.bloomberg.com/live.
SCHATZKER: Performance of the unconstrained bond fund has really been accelerating, and I figure that has to feel good, doesn’t it?
BILL GROSS: It feels wonderful. You know, it– one of the reasons– that I’m still doing this, is just to prove that– you know, I still got it. You know, maybe like– the– you know, a 38 year old quarterback that– still has an arm and can– take us down to the Super Bowl. So yeah, it feels great.
SCHATZKER: Who– to whom do you need to prove anything?
GROSS: Well, that’s my particular problem. I understand intellectually that– not many– many people care– whether I prove it or not prove it. My wife does– because she has to put up with me at night. But– it’s an obsessive thing that has– driven me and informed me and helped form PIMCO. And when you get to be 71, Erik., you don’t– even though you can figure it out intellectually, you don’t necessarily– lose it.
SCHATZKER: ‘Cause surely you must get that there are people who wonder why would Bill Gross, after building a track record as the most successful bond manager ever, be doing this?
BILL GROSS: Well, I d– I didn’t like how I left, so to speak– PIMCO. And I didn’t– care for the– aspersions that somehow I might have lost my touch. And– I don’t think I’ve lost my touch, I– I’m in this seven days a week, and– 18 hours a day, believe it or not. And– that speaks to interest. And– and hopefully the– the performance numbers speak to competence.
SCHATZKER: So all your investors care about is performance. What about you? How do you define success?
BILL GROSS: Well, I define– success– differently now than five or ten years ago. I mean– you know, success– in the early years was business-related, and asset growth related, and of course, you know, with family was related to how well your son or daughter was doin’ on the soccer field, et cetera, et cetera.
You know, these days as the children– children have grown and are doing their own thing, you know– certainly still– very– very much connected with– with their own successes, but– but– my wife Sue and I have– have raised our family. And– and now success– becomes a function of– what we can do– with the rest of the world outside– you know, Irvine, to– to– to help others and– and to prove that– some of the prior success can– blend into– success for the future for others.
SCHATZKER: Like what, for example?
BILL GROSS: We’ve– connected (THROAT CLEAR) six or seven years ago with the University of– California at Irvine with their stem cell research center. We’ve recently– connected with– Duke University in terms of– stem cell and Alzheimer’s in– in terms of– what they’re doing.
We’re frequent– developers I guess of– of hospital and– hospital foundations. We’ve– we’ve funded an emergency center in Laguna Beach. One of these days– I– I probably will be– a patient at it.
So success– these days, is, you know, still performance. As I’ve indicated, I’m still obsessed with that. But it’s– it’s also extending– the benefits to other parts of the world.
SCHATZKER: Why though, don’t you talk more, or haven’t you talked more about your philanthropy?
GROSS: I guess Sue and I try and– keep it quiet. We’re– we’re– we’re not the– not that there’s anything wrong with this, but– we’re not the type to attend functions and– and parties and galas. We– we like to– to work– underneath so to speak. If only because–
BILL GROSS: Yeah, if– if only to– to be honest– because we like to be in bed at 7:00 at night watching Jeopardy, as opposed to– having some cocktails with people that we don’t know. So it– it’s quiet because we’re quiet people. You know, we– we eat at– a Mexican restaurant just down the corner. It costs– $15 total– absent the margaritas. You know, those are– that’s just the life that we pursue.
SCHATZKER: I’m gonna ask you what sounds like a crass question, (THROAT CLEAR) so forgive me. But how much money have you given away?
BILL GROSS: Well– I– I think to this point probably– $600 million to $700 million.
BILL GROSS: Yes. And– I think the Gross Family Foundation, of which– our kids are a part– three kids– Jeff, Jen, and Nick– you know, that that’s the second largest– philanthropic organization in– c– Orange County, I’d say Orange County.
SCHATZKER: Do you share the same goal that some other people share, or have, which is by the time it’s all said and done with, I will have given it all away?
BILL GROSS: You know, certainly in terms of the foundation. I mentioned the foundation is a family foundation, and– and so I have three kids. They’re between– 26 and– 42 years old. And– and so they’ll continue the effort. But– yeah. We’ll give everything– that we have other than our home– away to– either philanthropic causes that I’ve talked about, or to the foundation.
SCHATZKER: That ultimately will amount to billions of dollars.
BILL GROSS: Yes. Yes– w– which is staggering– even to me.
BILL GROSS: You know, it’s really hard to sink in in terms of