Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pimco Sounds a bit like Pimpco

Bill Gross is the bond guru in charge of the biggest bond funds in the business. He has a really funny looking mustache that has an early '80s look to it. His mustache looks like the mustache on that dorky looking guy from Evening Shade. He writes a monthly 'here's my take on the market' column for Pimco's home site, and he tries to inject humor into his columns. His most recent column breaks the comedy ceiling for economists and bond investors.

Mr. Gross commented on the subprime meltdown, rating agencies and CDOs made up of those horrible home mortgages to poor folks with 2/28 teaser rates. He attempted to say that the agencies that rated those CDOs had lowered their standards for what good risk was, and turned a blind eye to the finagling that was going on in the CDO world. An analogy of rating agencies moving from Gidget in Hawaii with surfers to Heidi Fleiss (love Heidi Fleiss references) was followed by this line, "You were wooed Mr. Moody’s and Mr. Poor’s by the makeup, those six-inch hooker heels, and a “tramp stamp.” Many of these good looking girls are not high-class assets worth 100 cents on the dollar."

I want to break this down so you can appreciate this line. William H. Gross is a highly educated bond investor, who played blackjack in Vegas for a while card counting most likely, and manages giant bond funds for PIMCO. Pimco is a subsidiary of Allianz, which is one of the biggest insurance companies and the largest financial services provider in the world. They pay him a $40 million retainer bonus every single year. The dude is rolling in money, investing in crafty ways, and cracking jokes about tramp stamps.

For an investing dork to make the rating agencies human and by mixing them up with hookers, implies men with loose morals themselves, it is a pretty big deal. To describe the dolled up trash as wearing 6 inch hooker heels and having tramp stamps is pure genius. For those of you who do not know, a 'tramp stamp' (the man put it in quotes) is a tattoo on the small of a woman's back. I only know one guy over 50 who knows this phrase, and that is my dad, who actually told me that he can't wait 8 more years so he can say 'bad' things and he can be considered a harmless little dirty old man. I tip my hat to Mr. Gross for that great line, and for weighing in on the subprime meltdown. Might have been good to hear some form of warning from you beforehand, but being a housing bear is a new hat for many people.

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