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The bets she’s making now


Sonali Pier is a portfolio manager with Pimco

Pimco’s Sonali Pier strives for outperformance.

The youngest of three and the daughter of Indian immigrants, Pier set her sights on Wall Street after graduating from Princeton University in 2003. She began her career at JPMorgan as a credit trader, a field that doesn’t have a lot of women.

“In the ladies room, I don’t bump into a lot of people,” said Pier, who moved from New York to California in 2013 to join Pimco.

Fortunately, she’s seen a lot of changes over the years. There has not only been some progress for women entering the financial business, but the culture has also changed since the financial crisis to become more inclusive, she said. Plus, it’s an industry where there is clear evidence of performance, she added.

“There’s accountability,” she said, in a recent interview. “Therefore, the gender role starts to break down a little bit. With responsibility and accountability and a number to your name, it’s very clear what your contributions are.”

Pier has risen through the ranks since joining Pimco and is now a portfolio manager within the firm’s multi-sector credit business. The 42-year-old mother of two credits mentors for helping her along the way, as well as her husband for supporting her and moving to California sight unseen. Her father also raised her to value education and hard work, Pier said.

“He was the quintessential example of the American dream,” she said. “Being able to see his hard work and a lot of progress meant that I never thought otherwise, that hard work wouldn’t lead to progress.”

Pier’s work has not gone unnoticed. Morningstar crowned her the winner of the 2021 U.S. Morningstar Award for Investing Excellence in the Rising Talent category.

“Pier’s cautious contrarianism and rising influence at one of the industry’s premier and most internally competitive fixed-income asset-management firms stands out,” Morningstar said at the time.

Putting her investment strategy to work

Pier is the lead manager on Pimco’s Diversified Income Fund, which was among the top performers in its class — ranking in the 13th percentile on a total return basis in 2023, according to Morningstar. It has a 30-day SEC yield of 5.91%, as of Jan. 31.

“We’re really broadly canvassing the global landscape, and then looking for where there’s the best opportunities,” Pier said. “It’s getting the interest rate sensitivity from investment grade, high-quality parts of EM [emerging markets], and the equity-like sensitivity from high yield and the low-quality parts of EM.”

The fund also invests in securitized assets, with about 23% of the portfolio is allocated to the sector, as of Jan. 31.

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Pimco Income Diversified Fund

While the fund has a benchmark, the Bloomberg Global Credit Hedged USD Index, it is “benchmark aware” and doesn’t “hug it,” Pier said.

Morningstar has called the fund a “standout.”

“Pimco Diversified Income’s still ample staffing, deep analytical resources, and proven approach…



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The bets she’s making now

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