Even after one of the most storied careers in financial markets, Bill Gross has a few surprises left.

For one, he’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, the autism-spectrum disorder. Gross says he lived most of his life unaware of the condition and now believes it helps explain not only why he was such a successful investor for so long but also why he could, by his own admission, rub people the wrong way.

Gross, long one of the most vocal critics of post-crisis stimulus, now sounds like a near-convert to modern monetary theory. He says deflation poses a huge challenge for central banks, admires what Japan has done to revive its moribund economy and thinks the U.S. government should consider doubling the size of its deficit.

And the billionaire and registered Republican agrees with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that the rich should pay more in taxes -- if not quite the 70 percent she’s proposing at the margin. It’s a “necessary evil” to correct the failings of American capitalism, Gross says, adding that if inequality persists there’ll be a “revolution at the ballot box.”

He even muses on who might inherit his onetime title of king of the bond market.

Last Day
Gross, 74, shared the revelations in a 90-minute interview with Bloomberg Television at his office in Newport Beach, California. He touched on everything from recession risks to a recent round of golf with discount-brokerage pioneer Chuck Schwab as he counted down the hours to his official retirement. Friday will be his last as a portfolio manager with Janus Henderson Group Plc, the firm he joined in 2014.

It’s been 48 years since William Hunt Gross, an Ohio native, Duke University graduate, Navy veteran and blackjack whiz, started as an investment analyst at Pacific Mutual Life. He went on to co-found Pacific Investment Management Co. in 1974 and played the starring role as Pimco grew to become one of the world’s largest asset managers, overseeing more than $2 trillion at its peak. His Pimco Total Return Fund so reliably beat its bond-market rivals that he was dubbed “the bond king.”

More recently, Gross has had less to celebrate. After feuding with his Pimco partners over strategy, succession and managerial control, Gross was ousted in 2014. His second act at Janus was a headline-making dud as poor returns spurred withdrawals. His three-decade marriage fell apart in a split so acrimonious it became fodder for tabloids thousands of miles away.

‘Different Universes’
That’s a lot for anyone to take, let alone a portfolio manager responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in client money. Yet Gross says he was able to maintain focus and doesn’t blame his personal ordeals for poor investment decisions.

“I’m an Asperger, and Aspergers can compartmentalize,” he said, revealing his diagnosis publicly for the first time. “They can operate in different universes without the other universes affecting them as much. Yeah, I had a nasty divorce, and I still had, you know, feelings about Pimco. But I think I did pretty well in compartmentalizing them. Not that I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night and start damning one side or the other. But when I came to work it was all business.”

First « 1 2 3 4 » Next