Pimco Hires Three From Thornburg in Global Expansion of Stock Fund Effort

Pacific Investment Management Co. hired two managers and an analyst from Thornburg Investment Management and named Neel Kashkari head of global equities as it builds its stock funds.

Brad Kinkelaar, who left Thornburg at the end of 2008, will reunite with that firm’s Cliff Remily and Matt Burdett to start a Pimco strategy focusing on global dividend-paying stocks, the Newport Beach, California-based firm said today in a statement. Kashkari, who was hired in December 2009, will lead the equity portfolio committee that brings together the firm’s global research.

Pimco, which manages about $1.3 trillion in assets, has gathered $4 billion in its stock funds since Kashkari joined as head of new investment initiatives. Under Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian and founder Bill Gross, the firm has also expanded into exchange-traded funds and taken over the distribution of its products from parent Allianz SE in Munich, Europe’s biggest insurer.

Pimco plans to open two funds that focus on dividend-paying stocks, the firm said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Pimco Dividend and Income Builder Fund will put at least 50 percent of assets in dividend stocks all over the world and will have the ability to invest in bonds. The Pimco EqS Dividend Fund will allocate at least 75 percent of its assets to income-generating stocks.

‘Measured and Deliberate’

“We’re only focusing on strategies where we think we have an edge,” Kashkari said in a telephone interview. “We set about this in a measured and deliberate way, ruling out acquisitions and deciding to hire the best talent in the industry.”

Kinkelaar, until his exit from Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Thornburg, co-managed the Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund, which invests in dividend-paying stocks. Remily most recently was a co-manager of the $9.2 billion fund, and Burdett was an equity analyst focusing on income strategies. The Thornburg Investment Income fund returned an average of 5 percent annually in the five years ended Sept. 2 to beat 98 percent of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Under Kashkari’s direction, Pimco has hired more than two dozen investment professionals for its stock unit. Kashkari, 38, is a former Treasury Department official who headed the taxpayer-funded $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

New Normal

The biggest of Pimco’s new funds is the $1.9 billion Pimco EqS Pathfinder Fund (PATHX), which is run by Anne Gudefin and Charles Lahr, former portfolio managers at Franklin Resources Inc. The fund, which opened in April 2010 and buys stocks the managers deem cheap based on yardsticks such as earnings, advanced 2.8 percent in the past year, lagging behind 82 percent of peers, Bloomberg data show. This year, it declined 4 percent through last week, beating 83 percent of rivals.

Pimco, which has more than 90 percent of its assets in bonds, in March started its first funds under Maria Gordon, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. portfolio manager hired last year to begin an emerging-markets stock group.

The firm has said it will pursue equity strategies with a global focus. That’s in line with Pimco’s “new normal” philosophy adopted in May 2009 to describe an era of lower returns, heightened government regulation, a diminishing clout for the U.S. in the world economy and a bigger role for developing nations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam in Boston at sbhaktavatsa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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