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Bond Market Expert to Headline Fuqua Graduation

January 07, 2004

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University 's Fuqua School of Business announces that bond expert Bill Gross will be the speaker for the 2004 Daytime MBA commencement exercises on May 8.

Gross, who earned his BA from Duke and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, is chief investment officer of Pacific Management Investment Company (PIMCO), which is regarded as the largest bond mutual fund in the United States , managing more than $304 billion in fixed income assets. Based in Newport Beach, California, the company is majority owned by Munich-based Allianz Group, a leading global insurance company with nearly $1 trillion in assets and represented in 70 countries.

Bill Boulding, associate dean for the Daytime MBA program says, "We are thrilled to have Bill Gross as the Fuqua commencement speaker. Not only is he one of the world's most important business leaders, he is an innovator of the highest magnitude."

Gross founded PIMCO in 1971 and through a number of high-risk, strategic investments has become known as the world's leading expert in the bond market, often being called the "Warren Buffett of the bond world," or more commonly, the "Bond King." The New York Times has called him "the nation's most prominent bond investor" and Gross and his team have twice been awarded Morningstar's "Fixed Income Manager of the Year." Their PIMCO Total Return Bond Fund has had an average gain of 8.3 percent for the past decade. His overall impact in the business community is reflected by having recently been named the 10 th most powerful person in business by Fortune magazine.

"I have admired Bill Gross and his work for a number of years," says Fuqua Dean Douglas Breeden. "To have him return to Duke to speak at our commencement will be a special honor for our MBA graduates."

The success of PIMCO rests on Gross' investment decisions, namely to choose bonds based on long-term secular considerations such as demographics, politics and structural changes in domestic and international economies. He then sets a general maturity range for a portfolio based on a long-term outlook. Says Morningstar analyst Eric Jacobsen, "Gross is simply more aggressive than most portfolio managers".

The impact of Gross' expertise is so highly regarded in corporate America that when Gross publicly challenged General Electric's balance sheet in 2002, its stock came under immediate attack, and finished the year at nearly half the level it was in the first quarter.