Bill Gross Bio: The Story of The Real Bond King - Business Chronicler (2024)

Table of Contents

  • Bill Gross' Bio Facts
  • Bill Gross' Key Facts Summary
  • Bill Gross' Birthplace and Early Life
  • Bill Gross' Early Career and Business Success
    • PIMCO
    • Total Return Bond Fund
    • Career after PIMCO
  • Bill Gross' YouTube Videos
  • Bill Gross' Business Failures
    • Departure from PIMCO
  • Bill Gross' Family
  • Bill Gross' Net Worth and Career Earnings
  • Bill Gross' Real Estate Holdings
    • Laguna Beach Mansion
  • Bill Gross Quotes
  • FAQs
    • Question: Has Bill Gross invented bond trading?
    • Question: Does Bill Gross own PIMCO?
    • Question: Is Bill Gross a billionaire?
    • Research and Citations

Years ago, just like most rookies attracted by the world of finances, I eagerly read any investment-related book I could get my hands on. One of them struck me in particular: Everything You’ve Heard About Investing Is Wrong! by Bill Gross.

The book (first published in 1997) sheds light on the modern financial environment and visionarily predicts how the business strategies will evolve over the following decades. It is lightheaded, witty, clever, and courageous – shortly, I was hooked from the first page.

Of course, I immediately started researching the man behind this book – William “Bill” Gross, one of America’s most prolific bond fund managers of all times.

Bill’s name is associated with the enterprises like PIMCO and Janus Capital Group. Nevertheless, you may also know him as #1818 on the Forbes’ 2022 list of billionaires, a generous philanthropist, or author of a few other great bestsellers.

Let’s learn more about how Bill Gross became who he is today.

Bill Gross’ Bio Facts

Full Name: William Hunt Gross
Birth Date: 13 April 1944
Birth Place: Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
Nick Name: Bill
Nationality: American
Siblings: N/A
Children: Jennifer Gross, Nick Gross, Jeff Gross
Partner / Spouse: Amy Schwartz (married in 2021), previously Sue J. Frank (married in 1985) and Pamela Roberts (married in 1968)
Profession: Fund manager, investor, author, philanthropist
Salary: $200 million annually during his time at PIMCO; currently retired
Net Worth: $1.6B (down from $2.5B in 2017)
Social Media: Twitter: @Bill Gross
Companies Associated With: Pacific Investment Management Co., Janus Capital Group (Janus Henderson)
Last Updated: July 2022

Bill Gross’ Key Facts Summary

  • Bill Gross was born in 1944 in Ohio to a ​​sales executive and a homemaker.
  • He graduated in 1966 in psychology from Duke University. He also later acquired MBA from UCLA.
  • In 1971, Gross co-founded PIMCO, one of America’s most successful investment management companies.
  • At the peak of his career, Gross managed almost $500 billion in funds.
  • In 2014, he left PIMCO and joined Janus Henderson as the company’s global macro bond fund manager.
  • In 2015, Bill Gross sued PIMCO for wrongful dismissal and received $81 million as compensation.
  • In March 2019, Bill Gross officially retired.
  • He revealed his Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis the same year.
  • He is married for the third time and has three adult kids from his previous marriages.
  • Bill Gross is also one of America’s most prolific stamps collector.
  • He is known for authoring several bestsellers on finances and investment. In March 2022, he also published his personal memoir titled I’m Still Standing.

Bill Gross’ Birthplace and Early Life

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Bill Gross was born William Hunt Gross in Middletown, Ohio, on April 13, 1944. His mom Shirley (née Tait), was a typical homemaker, whereas his father, Sewell Mark Gross, worked as a sales executive for a company called AK Steel Holding.

Bill’s family is of Canadian origin, and he was raised as Presbyterian. Despite having a relatively normal childhood, he recalls his parents as cold, strict, and constantly criticizing.

In the 1950s, his family moved to San Francisco. Despite many top-class schools in the city, Bill eventually studied in Durham, North Carolina, earning a degree in psychology from Duke University in 1966.

As revealed in 2019, Bill copes with Asperger’s syndrome (for another famous Asperger, check ourElon Musk Bio). Although this probably caused him some difficulties in social interactions, he was an excellent and popular student.

Bill even became a member of Phi Kappa Psi brotherhood, and he, apparently, truly enjoyed his time at the school – I’ve discovered that he donated millions of dollars over the years to his alma mater as a non-profit financial aid.

Between 1966 and 1969, Bill Gross served in the Navy, landing the position of assistant chief engineer on the USS Diachenko during the Vietnam War.

In 1970, Bill left the Navy and returned to school, earning an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management (for other success stories of a UCLA graduate, check ourTravis Kalanick Bio). After that, Bill was finally ready to gain his first experience in the business.

Bill Gross’ Early Career and Business Success

Although Bill studies business and psychology, his first career experience concerned neither of these fields. Surprisingly (at least for me), he became a full-time blackjack player in Las Vegas instead.

Although this might seem like a dead end on his career path, Bill attributes great importance to this experience. In his own words, gambling taught him a key lesson on risk assessment and prepared him for the bond market perfectly.

It didn’t take long until he had the chance to put his knowledge into practice: In early 1971, Bill became an investment analyst at the Pacific Mutual Life insurance company.

During this period, he completed a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program gaining his certification as a financial and investment professional.

I believe that at this time, Bill finally found his true calling. In just a few months, while still working for Pacific Mutual Life, he co-founded what would become one of the world’s most successful bond investment companies.

PIMCO

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When Bill Gross, along with Jim Muzzy and Bill Podlich, established Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO), it initially operated only as a division of Pacific Mutual Life insurance company, where Bill was still employed.

It launched with $12 million of assets, managing separate accounts of specific clients. However, Bill’s plans with the company were much bigger.

Under his bold and unscrupulous lead, PIMCO soon became the first investable market for fixed-income securities available to all interested investors.

Gross, known for his aggressiveness and appetite for high-risk operations, became a superstar in bond investing, making billions for various institutional investors and wealthy individuals.

Hisbusiness strategy revolved around his ability to recognize and use even the most subtle inefficiencies in markets. But he was also open to new technologies, including the emerging internet.

In my opinion, Bill Gross is, in some regards, simply a true visionary. Also, I believe he’s one of the few financiers who are not in the business mainly for the money.

Of course, he became wealthy anyway – especially after PIMCO opened the famous Total Return bond fund.

Total Return Bond Fund

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PIMCO’s Total Return fund was launched in January 1997 and quickly became the world’s largest bond fund. Thanks to accumulating almost $500 billion in the fund under his lead (2013), Bill Gross was in charge of the world’s most valuable treasure.

From what I’ve heard and read, Bill took great pride in successfully managing this fund for decades until he eventually left PIMCO. He was known as ‘The Bond King’ in the media and made at least $200 million a year.

Nevertheless, I think he continued to work on the fund for so long primarily because of the thrill and the unparalleled sense of satisfaction he gained from the day-by-day victories.

Besides becoming incredibly rich and making his clients even richer, Bill was rewarded for his work on the fund with many awards, including the title of Morningstar’s Fixed Income Manager of the Year (1998, 2000, and 2007) and decade (2010).

He also became a well-known TV personality thanks to appearing regularly in various programs focused on finances and investment.

Nevertheless, it was not meant to last. In 2014, Bill left PIMCO (under quite dramatic circ*mstances, which I will describe shortly). At the same time, he was also dumped by his second wife.

Suddenly, it seems like the 70-years old investment manager had to start all over.

Career after PIMCO

In 2014, when Bill Gross was ousted from PIMCO after working for the company for more than four decades, he immediately joined Janus Capital, a transnational asset management enterprise.

His role within the company was to manage an international macro bond fund, which was very close to what he did his entire career in PIMCO. Unfortunately, this time it simply did not work.

During the next five years, the fund managed by Bill ranked almost at the bottom. I believe it must have been a particularly tough period for Bill, a natural-born winner who always tried to put his client’s interests first.

In March 2019, Bill Gross officially retired from investment, pledging to focus only on his charitable projects and private assets.

Bill Gross’ YouTube Videos

In this 2022 video, Bill Gross comments on the current economic situation and inflation and predicts possible development in the next couple of months.

This 2022 video is a part of Yahoo Finance Presents series. Bill Gross discusses the major principles of market and investment cycles, and explains how the stagflation market works.

Eight years ago, shortly before Bill Gross left PIMCO, he discussed his relationship with the company’s 2nd most importtant manager and former CEO Mohamed El-Erian, who just departed from the firm reportedly after months of conflicts with Gross.

Bill Gross’ Business Failures

When you read a story of someone like Bill Gross, you would probably think that a professional with his experience and qualities must be treated as the most valuable asset of any company or enterprise.

However, to my shock, in 2014, Bill was basically sacked out of the company he once co-founded and transformed into the world’s top player in bond fund management.

Departure from PIMCO

In 2000, PIMCO was acquired by German financial group Allianz SE. This brought numerous personal and strategic changes to the company. According to Bill Gross, it also shifted the firm’s focus from its clients’ prosperity to its owner’s profits.

Bill Gross stayed in the company for 14 more years, but his results gradually lost momentum, and his relationships within the company were getting problematic too.

I believe it’s fair to say that Bill most likely had his share in the conflicts: The superstar manager was known to have a giant ego, and his frequent outbursts couldn’t always be overlooked or tolerated.

The situation rapidly escalated when he became somewhat jealous of PIMCO’s chief executive Mohamed El-Erian, Gross’ most likely successor in the company. After months of heated arguments, El-Erian left PIMCO in 2014, and Gross soon followed.

Although PIMCO officially claimed that he departed suddenly and voluntarily, Gross maintains he was sacked and even sued the company, winning $81 in compensation.

Bill Gross’ Family

Bill Gross is currently married to a former professional tennis player and amateur golfer, Amy Schwartz. Bill and Amy (25 years his junior) met through a mutual friend in 2017 and tied the knot five years later.

This is, however, not Bill’s first marriage. His first wife, Pamela Roberts, married him in 1968, and the two had one son (Jeff) and one daughter (Jennifer) before divorcing.

In 1985, Gross married his second wife, Sue J. Frank. His youngest son Nick comes from this marriage.

The couple divorced in 2018, and despite Sue walking away from the marriage with over $1 billion, they reportedly stayed on good terms. Sue owns a house close to Bill and Amy’s, so I guess they even see each other regularly.

Bill Gross’ Net Worth and Career Earnings

As of July 2021, Forbes estimates the net worth of Bill Gross at around $1.6 billion.

Although this is an impressive capital, evaluating the timeline chart of Bill’s wealth reveals that he is actually experiencing very unprofitable times recently: Just five years ago, his net worth was almost double, $2.5 billion.

What happened? I assume that several different factors contributed to this misfortune: general shifts in the industry, market fluctuations, and last but not least, Bill’s rocky departure from PIMCO and not-so-successful brief career at Janus Capital.

As part of this (or maybe just by pure coincidence), Bill also sold some of his valuable assets in the following years. In 2018, for example, Bill disposed of his vast collection of U.S. stamps through an auction, raising more than $60 million for charity.

In regards to Bill’s salary, he is currently retired, so I assume he lives on his assets which he manages with the help of his children. Nevertheless, during his time at PIMCO’s Total Return Fund, he reportedly earned more than ​​$200 million per year.

Analysts, however, still considered Gross heavily underpaid in the light of his enormous contribution to multiplying the earnings of his clients.

Bill Gross’ Real Estate Holdings

Bill Gross is known to own several luxurious properties. Let me share with you some details on the best renowned of his estates:

Laguna Beach Mansion

If I owned a fortune like Bill Gross and could buy a house wherever I wanted to, I would certainly consider Laguna Beach, a picturesque Orange County beachfront town with an exotic ambiance and many prominent residents (includingMark Cuban).

Clearly, Bill has great taste, too, since Laguna Beach is just where he chose to live with his wife, Amy. Their $35.8 million home, known as Rockledge-by-the-Sea, stands right in the first line from the water and boasts stylish modernist architecture.

The 10,000-square-foot manor has a gym, spa, wine room, and even an elevator. Moreover, it is also surrounded by valuable sculptures and other art pieces.

Bill Gross Quotes

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Bill Gross is a witty, straight-talking, and genuinely humble guy. Many of the opinions and ideas I’ve read in his books over the years have stayed with me. Here are at least some of his inspirational quotes:

“We all earn too much, but I can sleep because of the multiples we have provided for our clients over the years.”

“You need to make big bets when the odds are in your favor — not big enough to ruin you, but big enough to make a difference.”

“My early blackjack career taught me several things. The first is that if you apply yourself with a lot of hard work and mathematical prowess, you can beat the system.”

“I am obsessed with delivering value to investors and winning the game from a personal standpoint.”

“My clients don’t pay me to feel sorry; they pay me to bring them money. I am tough, but I have a soft side.”

“Whenever I read the newspaper, I say to myself: At least my wife loves me.”

“I would admit I’m an introvert. I don’t know why introverts have to apologize.”

​​”People have different impressions of themselves, and where reality lies is somewhere in between.”

“If companies don’t know that they can run out of money, they won’t be thinking of ways not to run out of money.”

“Do you know those adages about smelling the roses and chasing butterflies? The markets are my butterflies and my roses.”

FAQs

Question: Has Bill Gross invented bond trading?

Answer: No. Bond trading is actually ancient – historians assume its basic principle was already known and applied in Mesopotamia. However, Bill Gross is considered to be one of the world’s most successful and influential bond traders of all time.

Question: Does Bill Gross own PIMCO?

Answer: No. Although Bill co-founded the company and worked as one of its highest-ranking managers for over four decades, he never owned PIMCO. Today, the company is owned by the Allianz insurance group.

Question: Is Bill Gross a billionaire?

Answer: Yes. Although his fortune has significantly shrunk over the last couple of years, his net worth is still around $1.6 billion.

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