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Republican Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska feels like there’s most likely more violence coming in the near future.
Following last weekend’s deadly clash between neo-Nazi groups, and left-wing counter…
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Late last week, we reported that in the first documented clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers who have been piling up across the border between the two nations over the latest territorial dispute, “Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in an a…
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In a long statement issued by the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin rejected and pushed back against an urging from his former classmates at Yale University that he resign from Donald Trump’s cabinet, while defending the president’s response to last weekend’s deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The statement was in response to a letter posted online on Friday by about 300 of Mnuchin’s classmates from the Yale University undergraduate class of 1985, asking Mnuchin to resign in protest of Trump’s comments. “It is your moral obligation,” they said. “We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.”
Mnuchin, realizing that with Bannon gone, Trump’s future policies are now a “clean slate” for the Wall Street/MIC complex to rewrite as it sees fit with no internal opposition, disagreed.
“I am writing in response to my Yale Classmates and many other comments I have received urging me to “speak out.” I believe that your letter and these comments raise several Important issues and misconceptions that I am prepared to address”, Mnuchin begins, adding that “some of these issues are far more complicated than we are led to believe by the mass media,’ the former Goldman employee and hedge fund manager said, paraphrasing the Dude’s legendary “lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s.”
“As someone who Is Jewish, I believe I understand the long history of violence and hatred against the Jews (and other minorities) and circumstances that give rise to these sentiments and actions. While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this,
or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president
in no way, shape or form believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups
who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in
peaceful and lawful ways.
In his statement Saturday, Mnuchin suggested that Trump’s political opponents, including Republican rivals in last year’s primary campaign, were unfairly seizing on the Charlottesville uproar to “distract the administration” from policy issues. Just like Bannon, Mnuchin’s ties with Trump go back to the summer of 2016, when he first started as Trump’s campaign finance chairman before being named as Treasury secretary; according to the WSJ he has a close personal relationship with the president.
Mnuchin also referenced a broader national dialogue about the legacy of slavery and how historical figures should be remembered.
“Some of these issues are far more complicated than we are led to believe by the mass media, and if it were so simple, such actions would have been taken by other presidents, governors and mayors, long before President Trump was elected by the American people,” Mnuchin wrote.
Meanwhile, seeking to distance himself from the “nationalist” angle of his administration in the aftermath of Bannon’s firing, Trump extended an olive branch to Saturday’s demonstrators, saying that protests can be cathartic as thousands swarmed into downtown Boston on Saturday to speak out against white nationalists.
“Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!” the president said in a pair of tweets. “I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!”
And yet, just one hour before lauding Saturday’s protesters, Trump, who’s spending the weekend at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, was less sympathetic. “Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart!” He praised the effort of law enforcement officers and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Mnuchin isn’t the only ex-Goldmanite who is staying: last week the market turmoiled on speculation that Trump’s top economic adviser and former Goldman COO Gary Cohn, was upset by Trump’s remarks and thinking about quitting. Cohn will remain in his position, a White House official said on Thursday.
With the “globalists” having won decisively the war for Trump’s Inner circle of influence, the markets are eagerly awaiting to see what if any change in tone, rhetoric and policies will be unveiled by the president. With the debt ceiling deadline looming, Trump has little time in which to make a decision what his upcoming pivot will look like.
Mnuchin’s full letter is below.
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Well, the “fake news” article that Jeff Gundlach has been quietly – and not so quietly – raging against for weeks on Twitter, is finally out.
Readers will recall that DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach has been engaging in an odd subtweeting campaign on Twitter over the past week with what until recentl had been an unnamed media outlet that is allegedly being used by a similarly unnamed Doubleline competitor to accuse Gundlach’s fund of doing poorly and is suffering outflows, something the “bond king” has said is a “false narrative”…
Then last week, Gundlach finally revealed that the “fake news” publication with the imminent hit piece in question was the WSJ:
Mutual Fund Wire just put out looong “top influencers” list. Have to laugh competitor in cahoots with WSJ upcoming fake news didn’t make it!
— Jeffrey Gundlach (@TruthGundlach) August 17, 2017
WSJ desperate to populate “anonymous source” DBL hit piece. Now calling new employees. Even called spouse of one last night. Sad but true.
— Jeffrey Gundlach (@TruthGundlach) August 17, 2017
Meanwhile, Gundlach had done everything in his power to take preemptive damage control and publicize that DoubleLine is in no way in peril, or in need of funding. In a recent interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Shatzker, Gundlach said that he is content with the size of his fund, which he does not want growing too large, and may soon turn new money away:
“Gundlach is taking a similarly conservative approach to building his eight-year-old firm. While some competitors embrace the mantra “size matters,” he believes there’s a limit to how much DoubleLine can manage well and says the firm may stop marketing altogether once assets reach $150 billion, up from about $110 billion today.
‘I’ve actually been turning money away in our institutional business,’ Gundlach said. ‘I don’t want to manage $500 billion. I don’t really want to manage $200 billion.’… “I don’t want one $150 billion fund, I want 10 $15 billion funds. A diversified business,” Gundlach said in the interview. “We lose business because our fees are too high and I say, ‘Fine, that’s a way of regulating growth.’”
“Bill Gross once managed a single fund with $293 billion in assets, the Pimco Total Return Fund. By comparison, Gundlach, who co-founded DoubleLine in 2009, said he’s debated whether to close the $54 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund, the firm’s largest, to new money.”
The statement echoed what Gundlach said in a tweet from August 2: “DoubleLine Facts: All time high AUM, revenue, headcount. Returns good-to great across funds. CEO never berates employees. Boycott fake news!”
Then, as we reported two weeks ago, we suggested that the reason for the recent din over DoubleLine – or rather Total Return Bond Fund – AUM is that Gundlach was anticipating the latest Morningstar fund flow data, reported by Reuters, according to which investors pulled another $200 million from Jeffrey. Gundlach’s flagship Total Return Bond Fund in July, extending the outflow streak that began in November to nine consecutive months. So far this year, the fund has posted outflows of $3.6 billion, leaving it with $53.6 billion in AUM as of the end of
As Reuters wrote, “the withdrawals are notable given that other bond funds are swimming in new cash from investors and at a time when the DoubleLine fund’s performance has been strong.
Some $203 billion flowed into bond funds in the first half of 2017, and bond funds overall have not recorded a single week of outflows all year, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group.
The outflows are odd in the context of TRF’s YTD outperformance: “DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund’s lower-cost institutional shares were up 3.2 percent this year through Tuesday, beating its benchmark, according to data from Thomson Reuters’ Lipper research unit.” Preempting the news, Gundlach in a tweet early Wednesday said that DoubleLine is a top-ranked fund company by net cash inflows this year through July.
Sure enough, while TRF is seeing outflows, the broader DoubleLine continues to take in cash: overall, the firm pulled $253 million into its mutual funds and ETFs during July and $2.5 billion this year, ranking 24th of 405 fund families, according to Morningstar data. A recent interview with Reuters may explain this discrepancy: Gundlach said DoubleLine was “trying to focus on our strategy: growing our other funds.” He was referring to the SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical ETF, DoubleLine Core Fixed Income Fund, DoubleLine Shiller Enhanced CAPE, DoubleLine Low Duration Bond Fund, DoubleLine Infrastructure Income Fund and DoubleLine Flexible Income Fund. Those six funds have attracted $5.8 billion this year, according to Morningstar.
“We are marketing our other funds and not DBLTX,” Gundlach said. “We are accomplishing exactly what we planned.”
As we concluded two weeks ago, “it remains to be seen if there is anything more structural within DoubleLine to explain the outflows, or the explanation for Gundlach’s recent odd tweeting behavior.“
* * *
And with all that in mind, fast forward to today when the long-awaited moment in which the much-(pre)publicized WSJ article is finally out. In it, the WSJ’s Greg Zuckerman picks up on what we, Reuters and Morningstar previously noted, namely the 9 consecutive months of outflows from DoubleLine’s flagship bond fund:
Jeffrey Gundlach built one of the most successful new bond funds ever, amassing $61.7 billion of assets at the DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund over just six years. But during the past year something else happened: Some customers began to leave. Assets under management at the fund dropped 13% from their peak last September to $53.6 billion as of July 31.
Investors have pulled $8.5 billion from the fund in that period, Morningstar Inc. says, while funds in the same category took in net inflows of 7.2%. The fund has had outflows in each of the past nine months.
Naturally, the WSJ was delighted to take advantage of the massive publicity Gundlach’s own tweeting had generated for the coming piece in recent weeks:
As performance has slipped and the fund has shrunk, Mr. Gundlach, 57 years old, has turned combative, taking on the media and continuing to taunt a rival. Meanwhile, some within the firm are bracing for what could be a more challenging environment.
And here are the “dots” of information that one can finally connect based on Gundlach’s aggressive subtweeting since the start of August:
Late last year and earlier this year, some at DoubleLine Capital’s offices in downtown Los Angeles say, they were told bonuses might drop in 2017, according to people close to the matter. The firm says the guidance was aimed at creating a “pragmatic assessment” of 2017 after a big year in 2016.
Mr. Gundlach’s fund’s performance has been solid. But some investors say they are leaving because the fund has cooled from its previously white-hot pace.
Total Return Bond Fund topped 90% of peer funds over the past three- and five-year periods. In 2017, though, it is besting 59% of competitors, with a 3.15% gain through Aug. 17, Morningstar says.
That said, in the the article’s weakest link, and rather bizarre argument, one is somehow expected to extrapolate from the behavior of a few investors (in this case a retired orthodontist), what billions in capital will do momentarily.
“Among those bailing are individual investors, who helped fuel the fund’s growth but can be quicker than institutions to pull their funds when performance lags. Barney Rothstein, a retired orthodontist in Tucson, Ariz., withdrew $250,000 from the fund over the past 18 months and shifted the money to individual bonds that carry similar yields but can be held to maturity, unlike a bond fund, potentially giving an investor more cushion if the market turns down.
“The extra return wasn’t there anymore,” he said.”
Well, Barney, the only “extra return” these days is if you buy tech stocks on leverage… or Ethereum and Bitcoin of course. Furthermore, it appears that the WSJ’s entire “outflows” thesis is based on the assumption that once a fund reaches a “normalized return”inflection point, investors will flee. We are hardly convinced, especially in a time when 90% of hedge funds can’t outperform the S&P:
Some investors in Pimco’s once-giant Total Return fund left it in 2013 and 2014 when the fund, led at the time by Bill Gross, stopped trouncing rivals. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gross’s current firm, Janus Henderson Investors, said he outperformed his benchmark during that period.
“This is part of having exceptional returns—at some point there will be less-than-exceptional returns,” said A. Michael Lipper, who advises investors in mutual funds. Mr. Gundlach, he said, “wouldn’t like the comparison, but the same thing happened to Bill Gross.”
Now investors like Castle Financial & Retirement Planning Associates Inc. in Hazlet, N.J., are shifting to Pimco from DoubleLine. “Performance has been waning,” said Al Procaccino II, president of the firm, which pulled money from the DoubleLine fund this year.
Doubleline’s response was well-telegraphed, the bond manager said it isn’t troubled by the outflows or the performance of the fund, which is nearly $45 billion larger than DoubleLine’s next biggest fund.
“Many well-known, actively managed bond funds that have been around long enough go through periods of net outflows, some far more dramatic than Mr. Gundlach’s fund has experienced,” a DoubleLine spokeswoman said. “There are only so many opportunities for actively managed funds. DoubleLine stopped marketing the fund two years ago, and the firm is pleased with where the asset level is.”
Of course, whether DoubleLine’s outflows are “controlled” will become obvious shortly: ultimately the single best predictor of future capital flows is today’s performance, and for now DoubleLine has nothing to worry about. Perhaps the only interesting aspect in the entire WSJ piece is the additional insight into why Gundlach’s twitter account has recently become rather more… colorful:
One former employee says Mr. Gundlach aims to stir debate and focus attention on his fund.
“Even if the inner Jeffrey is truly composed and collected, the outer Jeffrey is the actor—he’s a rational creation who understands how to rattle the cage,” says Claude Erb, a former portfolio manager at DoubleLine and TCW. “He’s seen client enthusiasm ebb and flow. When it’s waning, you have to redouble your efforts to get the message out.”
René Bruer, the co-chief executive at Smith Bruer Advisors, which manages $80 million, withdrew all of his clients’ money from the fund in 2015 partly because of concerns about its reliance on the outspoken manager. “He can create controversy. If that’s what floats his boat, great,” Mr. Bruer says. “But for my clients and for me, I can’t take much of that.”
Quoted by the WSJ, Jordan Edwards of Avier Wealth Advisors in Bellevue, Wash., which keeps about 10% of clients’ bond allocation in the fund, cited Mr. Gundlach’s investing skills and said, “I would prefer that he would not be as provocative as he is.”
And yet, Jordan – and most other investors- will gladly keep their funds with Gundlach as long as he continued to outperform, which is why the whole point behind this article is rather lost on us.
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