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Start-up money manager DoubleLine gets SEC OK as advisor

December 23, 2009 |  5:23 pm

DoubleLine LLC, the L.A. money management firm launched this month by star bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach, said today that its investment-advisor registration was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC’s fast OK will pave the way for Gundlach to attract money from institutional investors, a small number of whom he had already been guiding as an unregistered advisor, he said.

Gundlach, considered one of Wall Street’s sharpest investors in mortgage-backed bonds, had been chief investment officer at L.A. investment giant TCW Group until the $110-billion-asset firm ousted him on Dec. 4 amid an internal power struggle. TCW said Gundlach had threatened to leave and take his staff with him. Gundlach said the firm’s French bank parent, Societe Generale, was intent on firing him after he sought more say-so on TCW’s future.

Jeffgundlach More than 40 people on Gundlach’s 65-member bond team at TCW have since followed him to DoubleLine, which began operations on Dec. 14 with support from another L.A. financial titan, Oaktree Capital Management.

TCW on Dec. 4 bought rival bond fund manager Metropolitan West Asset Management to take over the bond portfolios Gundlach had managed, including his top-performing mutual fund, TCW Total Return Bond. On Tuesday TCW named a new chief for its mutual fund operations to replace Ron Redell, who last week left to join DoubleLine.

Gundlach, 50, has acknowledged that a critical test for his new firm will be whether he can quickly lure former and new institutional and individual clients to DoubleLine. Most of the firm’s employees are working without pay until the company begins to bring in revenue.

Gundlach said he believed the firm could have $50 billion under management by the end of 2010. He plans to launch a series of bond mutual funds for individuals in the first quarter, he said.

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: Jeffrey Gundlach. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times