I’m Going Back to Cali. . .

Besides having one of the best moustaches around, Mohamed El-Erian is one of the elite investment managers in American today. (I tried a moustache for a week and looked like a really creepy pedophile.) Which is why it is shocking that he has decided to abandon his post as the manager of Harvard University’s $35bn endowment to return to his former employer PIMCO after less than two years on the job. (Here is some more info on the “Endowment Style” of investing.)

The FT reports that the move positions El-Erian as the heir apparent to CIO Bill Gross. El-Erian’s new title is co-CEO, and he has stated that he was “returning to southern California to be closer to family.” That is the investment version of the excuse for most marriages ending – “irreconcilable differences”.

I think the real reason is that Bill Gross shaved his moustache and PIMCO needs a new moustache-wielding poster boy for the company. A friend of mine said they will be passing out these hats upon his return.

Some of the biggest PIMCO funds are:
PTTAX Total Return
PASAX All Asset
PRTNX Real Return
PCRAX Commodity Real Return

Fun fact of the day: Bill Gross paid his way through college by counting cards in blackjack on the shores of Lake Tahoe. I tried the same thing 40 years later, and let’s just say it has gotten a bit tougher. Besides getting regularly evicted from the casino, my winnings totaled about one ski pass (although if you have ever skied Squaw, that’s not too bad). Here is an article on the topic, and from an article on theStreet.com:

TSCM:It’s rumored that your career in finance began as a blackjack counter in Las Vegas. How is managing fixed income like counting cards?

GROSS: It’s more than a rumor; it’s a fact. Basically, gambling and money management are pretty much the same. In each, the goal is to spread the risk and avoid becoming emotional while staying focused on the odds.

Vegas taught me that I could beat the system with a combination of hard work, coming up with ideas that no one has yet thought of, and the ability to tolerate a constant routine others would definitely find tedious.