Pimco Hires Three as Bridwell's Alternatives Unit Grows

Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s biggest mutual fund, hired three professionals to bolster the unit run by Jennifer Bridwell that oversees hedge funds and distressed debt.

Neal Reiner, Molly Hall and Jennifer Strickland have started at the firm and are based in the Newport Beach, California, headquarters, the firm said today in a statement.

Pimco named Bridwell head of alternatives product development in September as it expands beyond its core fixed-income funds such as those run by Bill Gross. The firm manages $16 billion in so-called alternatives, which include hedge funds and mortgage-related assets, and has more than 70 people working on the offerings.

“We have not been as active in the past in really getting out and telling our clients how long we’ve been doing this, and really talking to them about our performance,” Bridwell, who’s been at Pimco since 2005, said in a telephone interview. “We live in a really dislocated world post-crisis, where there are lots of things that are really attractive that can’t be housed inside of a traditional strategy.”

Pimco has offered hedge funds to institutional clients for the past decade, and since 2007 has opened funds to buy distressed residential and commercial mortgages that fell in value after the global credit crisis. Under Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian, the firm is also pushing into products such as stock funds and exchange-traded funds.

Reiner, an executive vice president and product manager for credit alternative strategies at Pimco, was previously at Gottex Fund Management Ltd. Hall, formerly with Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, and Strickland, previously with Blue Mountain Capital Management LLC, are both executive vice presidents focusing on client services and marketing of alternatives.

Pimco, a unit of German insurer Allianz SE, manages about $1.7 trillion in assets. Led by co-chief investment officers Gross and El-Erian, the firm runs the $261 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the largest mutual fund.

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