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PIMCO Allegedly Misled Investors

PIMCO Allegedly Misled Investors
PIMCO Allegedly Misled Investors
Report #: 14596 - 0 Comments
Date Reported: Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Status: Active and Ongoing
Severity: Elevated - Smear Campaign
Primary Weapon: Other
Specific Location: Newport Beach
City/Local Area: Orange County
State/Territory: California
Region: United States

In the world of investments, trust and transparency are paramount for investors to make informed decisions. However, allegations of misconduct and non-disclosure can severely impact investors' confidence. PIMCO, a prominent investment management firm, has recently faced accusations of misleading investors regarding its Total Return ETF. This isn't the first time such allegations have been brought against PIMCO, raising concerns about the company's practices and commitment to transparency.

The Total Return ETF Controversy:

Back in December 2016, PIMCO paid a hefty settlement of nearly $20 million to resolve charges related to its Total Return ETF. The fund had garnered significant investor attention for its seemingly impressive performance, largely attributed to a strategy involving the purchase of smaller-sized bonds known as 'odd lots.' However, behind the scenes, it appears that PIMCO may not have provided investors with a complete picture of the true long-term impact of this particular strategy.

The Allegations:

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), PIMCO allegedly misled investors by not fully disclosing the consequences of its odd lot strategy. By failing to inform investors about the potential risks and limitations of this approach, they were deprived of the opportunity to make well-informed investment decisions. As a result, the PIMCO Total Return ETF may have overvalued its portfolio due to the inclusion of odd lots, leading to inaccurate perceptions of the fund's performance.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (PIMCO), a prominent registered investment advisor, with two enforcement actions related to disclosure and policies and procedures violations involving two of its funds. Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, PIMCO is a major player in the financial industry with approximately $2.24 trillion in regulatory assets under management. The violations reportedly occurred between 2011 and 2017, leading to a $9 million settlement to resolve the charges.

Allegations of Disclosure Violations

According to the SEC's findings, from September 2014 to August 2016, PIMCO failed to adequately disclose material information to investors about the use of interest rate swaps in the PIMCO Global Stocks PLUS & Income Fund (PGP) and the potential impact of these swaps on the fund's dividend. These paired interest rate swaps had reportedly become a significant source of distributable income for PGP, which enabled PIMCO to maintain the fund's dividend rate. However, their continued use also contributed to a decline in the net asset value (NAV) of PGP.

The SEC argued that by not providing sufficient disclosure about the role of paired interest rate swaps in PGP's distributions, PIMCO violated Section 34(b) of the Investment Company Act and Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act, along with Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. These regulations mandate transparent communication to investors about the key factors that influence a fund's performance and returns.

Allegations of Policy and Procedures Violations

The second action brought against PIMCO involved the alleged failure to waive approximately $27 million of advisory fees, as required by the agreement with the PIMCO All Asset All Authority Fund. The SEC stated that PIMCO did not have adequate written policies and procedures in place to oversee advisory fee calculations and ensure compliance with the fee waiver agreement until at least 2018. As a result, the firm was accused of violating its fiduciary duty to the fund and its investors.

Settlement Terms

In response to the SEC's charges, PIMCO reportedly agreed to a cease-and-desist order and a censure in each action. Additionally, the company will pay a combined $9 million penalty to settle the two enforcement actions. Part of this settlement includes PIMCO disbursing the $27 million in fees that should have been waived, along with interest and a performance adjustment, to the PIMCO All Asset All Authority Fund's investors.

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