(Dow Jones) Bond fund giant Pimco took a giant step in its evolution Wednesday with the launch of its first actively managed stock mutual fund.

PIMCO EqS Pathfinder Fund (PTHWX) is a global deep-value equity fund and is part of a new series of funds the Newport Beach, Calif.-based asset manager plans to launch.

Its launch highlights efforts by Pimco, a unit of Allianz SE, to broaden beyond fixed-income products, its traditional area of expertise. Pimco oversees more than $1 trillion in assets, the vast majority of it in fixed-income investments. Its Total Return Fund is the world's largest mutual fund, with $219.7 billion in assets.

Neel Kashkari, head of new business initiatives at Pimco, said the new fund will integrate Pimco's bottom-up security analysis, extensive global research capabilities and economic insights. Kashkari, who joined Pimco in December, is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, who oversaw the Treasury's bailout program.

Pimco is not considering "a blockbuster acquisition" in its efforts to build its active equity business, Kashkari said, but will instead bring in world-class managers. The firm has decided that that's the best way to preserve "Pimco quality" across its offerings, he said.

The new fund is the first example of that, but won't be the last, he said. Still, Pimco won't aspire to offer a full menu of equity products. It will offer only those at which it thinks it can do a better job than others, leveraging its expertise in global markets, said Kashkari. It wouldn't, for example, offer a U.S.-only large-cap fund, he said. "That space is large and crowded, but managers have found it difficult to consistently beat the indexes."

PIMCO EqS Pathfinder Fund will invest in undervalued stocks globally, but will supplement those investments with global value-oriented distressed debt and merger arbitrage opportunities.

It will be managed by Anne Gudefin and Charles Lahr, both executive vice presidents and portfolio managers. Lahr joined Pimco in December, and Gudefin joined the company in January. Both were previously with Franklin Templeton Investments, and co-managed the Franklin Mutual Global Discovery Fund.

The two will manage the new fund using the same strategy they used to manage the Franklin fund, a strategy that has been around for 60 years, said Lahr. The new fund will invest in deep value stocks globally, but will supplement returns with other asset classes, he said. Adding inputs from areas in which Pimco has expertise, such as economics, currency, fixed-income and central bank policy "can only make us better investors," said Lahr.

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