September 5, 2017 / 6:57 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Pimco Total Return Bond Fund attracts first inflows since April 2013

(Adds performance and managers of Pimco Total Return Bond Fund)

By Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The Pimco Total Return Bond Fund, which lost its crown as the world’s largest bond fund following former manager Bill Gross’s shocking exit, has attracted its first monthly inflows in more than four years.

Investors added $348 million of new cash into the fund, not including reinvested dividends, in August, bringing its assets under management to $74.7 billion as of Aug. 31.

The fund, which Gross had managed from 1987 until September 2014, when he resigned from the investment firm he co-founded, remains only about one-fourth as large as it was in April 2013, when assets under management peaked at $292.9 billion.

A Pimco spokesman declined to comment. Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel and Mihir Worah took over the fund’s management after Gross’s departure.

Its average annual returns in the three years through Sept. 1 were 2.93 percent, better than 81 percent of its Morningstar peer category. This year through August, the fund’s 5.12 percent return beat 94 percent of competitors.

“While one month (of inflows) is not a trend, this is a positive sign as investors give a closer look as the management team nears its three-year anniversary at the helm,” Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF & Mutual Fund Research at CFRA, said in an interview. “Pimco Total Return’s three-year record is stronger in the past three years than its Lipper peer group, and 2017 has been an above-average year so far.”

The Pimco Income Fund, which is seen by analysts and investors as Pimco’s new flagship fund, attracted $3.1 billion of inflows in August. Pimco Income, which is overseen by Group Chief Investment Officer Dan Ivascyn, now has total assets under management of $96.4 billion.

Pimco, which had $1.61 trillion in assets under management overall as of June 30, is owned by German insurer Allianz SE . (Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Jonathan Oatis)

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