Allianz's $2 Trillion Bet on Ivascyn Pays With Record Flows

(Bloomberg) -- Allianz SE three years ago bet the future of its then $2 trillion bond firm on Dan Ivascyn, a little-known money manager at the time who had been picked to succeed Pacific Investment Management Co. founder Bill Gross.

It was a high-stakes wager for the risk-averse German insurer, which had come under criticism for its handling of the power struggle at the Newport Beach, California-based firm, and it’s now starting to pay off. Pimco received a record 52 billion euros ($62 billion) in net third-party inflows in the second quarter, Allianz said in a statement Friday. A lot of the money is going into the firm’s new flagship Pimco Income Fund, which is co-run by group Chief Investment Officer Ivascyn.

Allianz's $2 Trillion Bet on Ivascyn Pays With Record Flows

“Pimco has become a performance engine again,” Allianz Chief Financial Officer Dieter Wemmer said in the statement.

At a time when many active fund managers are reeling from outflows, the fourth consecutive quarter of inflows validates the decision to back a younger money manager who had the support of his colleagues over the star manager Gross who built Pimco, and to ignore calls for a divestment from the bond firm. While Pimco, with assets of $1.61 trillion as of June 30, is still a much smaller firm than it was three years ago, it accounted for almost all the 55 billion euros in third-party inflows at Allianz’s asset management arm in the quarter.

Allianz on Friday reported a 17 percent increase in second-quarter operating profit at Pimco while earnings at Allianz Global Investors declined 0.4 percent, even as AGI recorded third-party net inflows of 3 billion euros. Pimco’s cost-income ratio improved to 58.8 percent from 62 percent a year ago, while the measure of profitability worsened to 70.3 percent at AGI from 69 percent.

Allianz's $2 Trillion Bet on Ivascyn Pays With Record Flows

Much of Pimco’s turnaround is being driven by Ivascyn. He and co-manager Alfred Murata have beaten 99 percent of peers over five years with their Pimco Income Fund, returning 7.8 percent annually, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund in February overtook Pimco Total Return, the former flagship fund under Gross, and now has $92 billion in assets.

“Pimco is doing a great job with the performance of its products,” Wemmer said on a conference call. “Competition between active and passive is even more pronounced in the U.S. than in Europe, and active managers need to have top performance in order to remain attractive.”

Second-quarter inflows at Pimco included a single 19 billion-euro mandate, Allianz said. Assets under management rose by about $100 billion during the second quarter, including performance gains and money invested by Allianz, the biggest quarterly jump since the departure of Gross in 2014, according to information posted on the Newport Beach, California-based firm’s website. They climbed about $70 billion in the first quarter of 2016.