Late last year, in front of a number of traders, Mr. Gross said, “if only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I’m Secretariat,” referring to the famed thoroughbred. “Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?”
Pimco’s performance added to strains. Mr. Gross’s $237 billion Pimco Total Return fund lost 1.9% in 2013, the first year the fund posted a negative return since 1999, although it narrowly beat the benchmark Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which fell 2.02%. Investors yanked a net $41.1 billion from Mr. Gross’s fund—more withdrawals in a year, in dollar terms, than any fund in history, according to Morningstar, although it remained the world’s largest bond fund.