Arkansas Exits Post-Gross Pimco as Pensions Review Money Manager

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System has terminated Pacific Investment Management Co. as pensions across the country review allocations after Bill Gross’s departure.

“When we saw a disruption at Pimco, we thought it might be a good time to de-risk just by terminating Pimco versus pulling some from all managers,” said George Hopkins, executive director of the Little Rock pension. Pimco had managed about $472 million for the system in its Total Return Fund, which Gross previously ran.

From California to Florida, U.S. public pensions are reviewing assets invested in Pimco. Gross, 70, who co-founded the Newport Beach, California-based money manager more than four decades ago, left last month for Janus Capital Group Inc. after deputies threatened to quit and management debated his ouster. His departure caused $23.5 billion in redemptions in September from the $201.6 billion Total Return Fund.

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said last week that ScholarShare, the state’s 529 college-savings plan, moved $262 million from the Total Return Fund to the TIAA-CREF Bond Plus Fund Institutional Share Class.

Florida’s State Board of Administration decided Oct. 7 to “significantly” reduce the $1.9 billion that the state’s pension invested with Pimco. The system also decided to withdraw more than $1 billion that the company manages for the 401(k)- style program that the state offers workers.

More states could follow. Illinois’s teacher retirement system, with $3 billion invested with Pimco, has had the money manager on its watch list since February, when former Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian left, according to a Pensions & Investments article published today. Texas Municipal Retirement System put Pimco on watch after Gross’s departure.

Managers of New York City’s retirement systems are reviewing $7.08 billion in Pimco investments, while those overseeing plans in Michigan, Indiana and North Dakota are monitoring the situation, according to the article.

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