Geoffrey Johnson is the latest equities portfolio manager to leave Pacific Investment Management Co., a departure that prompted a Morningstar Inc. analyst to re-evaluate his rating.
Johnson, who is retiring as of Aug. 1, has overseen the $849 million Pimco EqS Long/Short Fund, which takes positions in stocks he selected, since its 2003 inception at his previous firm. John Devir, who has worked at Pimco since 2011, and Benjamin Strom, who joined in 2013, will take over, according to a July 22 filing by the Newport Beach, California-based firm.
Morningstar placed the fund under review “while we assess the manager change,” Jason Kephart, an analyst who follows nontraditional funds, wrote Monday.
Pimco, historically a fixed-income firm that now oversees about $1.51 trillion, has struggled to make headway in stock investing. In June, it trimmed 68 jobs including a dividend-focused team. Last year, the firm cut most of its in-house stock funds, leading to the departure of Virginie Maisonneuve, the deputy chief investment officer overseeing equities strategies.
Pimco spokeswoman Agnes Crane declined to comment on the latest changes.
The EqS Long/Short Fund is up 3.2 percent this year, outperforming 75 percent of its Bloomberg peers. It’s averaged 3.8 percent returns over the last three years.
“As a mutual fund, it has outshone peers when it comes to protecting on the downside and delivering returns,” Kephart wrote.
Assets in the fund peaked at $1.56 billion in March 2014 and fell to $849.3 million as of June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Johnson was brought to Pimco as an executive vice president by Neel Kashkari, who oversaw equities before Maisonneuve and now is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Johnson previously ran Catamount Capital Management, a boutique investment firm where he developed the strategy he brought to Pimco.