• Asset manager has made more than 130 hires globally in 2016
  • Firm faces headwinds from passively managed, low-fee funds

Pacific Investment Management Co., which manages $1.5 trillion, hired Gene Frieda as global strategist for emerging markets and Yacov Arnopolin as emerging market portfolio manager.

Frieda and Arnopolin will be based in London, according to a statement Wednesday from the Newport Beach, California-based firm. Frieda joins Pimco from Moore Capital Management, where he was partner and senior global strategist. Arnopolin worked at Goldman Sachs Asset Management in New York as a managing director and portfolio manager overseeing emerging market fixed-income portfolios.

Last year, Pimco lost its title as manager of the world’s largest emerging-market bond fund. Assets in the Pimco Emerging Local Bond Fund, which has been battered by ill-timed bets, have tumbled more than 70 percent from an April 2013 peak to $4.1 billion at the end of May.

This year the fund, which is managed by Michael Gomez and invests in local-currency bonds in developing nations, has gained 13.4 percent through May, compared with a 13.2 percent in JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s benchmark for emerging market bonds.

Frieda will work primarily with the emerging markets team and report to 
Andrew Balls, the London-based chief investment officer for global fixed income. Arnopolin will focus primarily on emerging markets external debt strategies and will report toGomez, head of the emerging markets portfolio management team.

Pimco is trying to reverse redemptions that have cut assets from a peak of $2 trillion in 2013. The bond firm faces growing competition from passively run funds with lower fees and outflows following the acrimonious departure of co-founder Bill Gross in 2014.

The firm has made more than 130 hires globally in 2016, including 14 portfolio managers and 20 more investment professionals, according to the statement.

Pimco reported about 2,300 total employees at the end of the first quarter, down 4 percent from 2,400 a year earlier. The firm reduced the number of investment professionals by about 5 percent to 720 in that time, according to its website.

Money managers, including BlackRock Inc., Franklin Resources Inc. and Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co., have also been cutting staff this year as they compete with low-fee competitors such as Vanguard Group.

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