Unstructured Finance

Gundlach doesn’t whine over his stolen wine

By Jennifer Ablan
September 20, 2012

By Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein

Who said bonds are boring? In recent days, Jeffrey Gundlach, the new king of the fixed-income world, has been dominating headlines with his lengthy CNBC interview on everything from counterparty risk to the market’s love affair with Apple stock to talk in the blogosphere about Gundlach’s pricey Santa Monica, Calif. residence being burglarized of more than $10 million in assets.

Against this backdrop, Gundlach’s firm, DoubleLine, hit a huge milestone this week as well, hitting $45 billion in assets under management.

For those who watched Gundlach’s TV interview on Wednesday they would never have guessed that the 52-year-old lost several high-end paintings and a 2010 red Porsche Carrera 4S in the burglary at his home a week earlier. The stolen goods include paintings by such artists as California Impressionist Guy Rose and landscape artist Hanson Duvall Puthuff. Also stolen were five luxury watches, wine and cash.

Sgt. Henry Martinez told Reuters that a “high end burglary like this is very unusual” in that neighborhood. If you want a full list of the stolen goods, click here

The burglary occurred sometime between Sept. 12 and Sept. 14 while the widely-quoted money manager was traveling. It’s not clear whether his Santa Monica home had an alarm system and whether it had been activated.

What the incident proves though is that Gundlach, who has no problem with trying to wrest the spotlight away from PIMCO’s Bill Gross, is one cool customer.

Exactly one year ago, Gundlach won an ugly court spat with the TCW Group Inc., the asset management firm that fired him in December 2009. An Los Angeles jury found Gundlach liable for breaching his fiduciary duty as well as taking trade secrets and interfering with the contracts of clients at the TCW but Gundlach walked away with the last laugh. The jury awarded TCW no damages on the breach of fiduciary duty and interfering with the contracts claims, nor any punitive damages.

Meanwhile, Gundlach won an unpaid wages claim of $66.7 million against TCW.   “Victory!” was all Gundlach said in an email to Reuters at the time after the verdict was announced.

With a payday like that it’s no surprise then that Gundlach is offering a $200,000 reward to anyone who can provide information to the Santa Monica police that leads to an arrest in the case.

But back to the serious stuff. With all that going on around him, Gundlach still had no trouble railing against mega-sized funds that use derivatives to get exposure to bonds. Gundlach never mentioned Gross or PIMCO, but it’s hard not to figure that is who he was talking about, given Gross’ Total Return Fund with $272 billion in assets is the big kahuna in the industry and widely known to use derivatives.

In fairness, Gross and PIMCO have been scaling back its derivatives use this year.

Right now, however, it’s hard for a little war of words between rival bond kings to compete with an art heist.

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