Restoring Balance
This clearly isn’t the Bill Gross of 2012, who declared the “cult of equity” dead and predicted an “age of inflation.” He describes his politics as increasingly liberal, and he jokes that he re-registered as a Republican just to pass muster at his country club.

Gross believes tax rates on high earners need to be raised to restore balance in American capitalism and fund benefits for the middle class, such as access to affordable health care. That’s why he’s sympathetic to Ocasio-Cortez, the congressional freshman who has energized the left wing of the Democratic Party, even if he doesn’t agree with all her ideas.

“Maybe the next time, the next election, there will be a ‘socialist’ in the White House,” he said. “The wealthy have been advantaged for a long time and certainly the past few years with the tax cuts. The middle class hasn’t necessarily suffered, but the gap has increased.”

Differing Billionaires
The question is how heavy the tax burden should be. Other billionaires, such as Oaktree Capital Group LLC’s Howard Marks, have warned against the consequences of “confiscatory taxes.” Gross says a top marginal rate of 70 percent -- the number floated by Ocasio-Cortez -- would be too high.

“I just think Trump took it too far,” he said.

Gross himself has a fortune the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates at $1.4 billion. He plans to manage that money and the $500 million in his foundation as a one-man family office. Gross said he’ll do so “conservatively,” investing in closed-end funds and municipal bonds and continuing with one of his favorite trades, selling options on market volatility.

New Routine
His routine, if all goes according to plan, will have him starting at 6:30 or 7 a.m., keeping at it for two or three hours, and then playing a round of golf.

Gross said he wants to be remembered for investing clients’ savings profitably and helping to build a “wealth-creating machine” at Pimco. That leaves only one question: Will there be another bond market king?

Probably not, according to Gross. One reason is the proliferation of passive investment vehicles. Anyone who claims to be a king of index funds is “just a puppet because the market is making the decisions.” Gross volunteered that he wouldn’t pick Jeffrey Gundlach, the chief executive officer and co-founder of DoubleLine Capital who’s frequently cited as the new king. If anyone, he said it might be Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, in part because of his “great long-term perspective.”

“In the right environment, 20 years ago, he could have been a bond king,” Gross said. “But I don’t think he’s got the market or maybe the willingness to be a king. Who would? Well, I guess I did. In retrospect it carries a certain burden. The crown is heavy.”