Pimco Hires Rick Chan, Jason Goldberg for Derivatives

Pacific Investment Management Co., the investment firm that overhauled its leadership this year after the abrupt resignation of former Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian, hired Rick Chan and Jason Goldberg as portfolio managers specializing in derivatives.

Chan and Goldberg are based in Newport Beach, California, and report to Josh Thimons, managing director of the firm’s volatility strategies, Pimco said today in an e-mailed statement. They’ll be joined by Harley Bassman, known as “the Convexity Maven,” who starts in July after working in Credit Suisse Group AG’s securities unit.

“We hired three of the best volatility traders in the world,” Thimons said in a telephone interview. The Federal Reserve “has had a tremendous influence on volatility markets since the financial crisis and notably in suppressing volatility and they’ve also created opportunities in that space, so there are interesting things going on in volatility markets, and there could be other opportunities as the Fed retraces.”

Pimco also hired Paul McCulley this week, for a third time, for the newly created position of chief economist, reporting to Chief Investment Officer Bill Gross, 70. Pimco’s bolstering its team after naming six deputy CIOs in the biggest leadership shakeup in its history in January, after El-Erian announced his decision to leave the firm.

Merrill, Och-Ziff

Chan was previously a managing director of interest-rate derivatives at Merrill Lynch & Co., a unit of Bank of America Corp. Goldberg managed an equity dispersion and volatility strategy at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.

Pimco, which oversees $1.9 trillion in assets, outlined its “new neutral” thesis this month, updating its outlook five years after El-Erian and Gross popularized the “new normal” concept to describe a period of below-average economic growth following the financial crisis. Pimco’s latest forecast is characterized by interest rates stuck below pre-crisis levels.

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