Updated Saturday, November 1, 2014 as of 5:08 AM ET

El-Erian Says Pimco's Gross Is One of World's Best Investors

(Bloomberg) -- Mohamed El-Erian, who quit Pacific Investment Management Co. in January amid reports of clashes with Bill Gross, said the legendary bond manager is still one of the world’s great investors.

“I have had the privilege of watching him in action and he is just a great investor,” El-Erian said today in an interview with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television.

El-Erian, 55, speaking in his first television interview after leaving, declined to comment on his private relationship with Gross, which media reports painted as becoming increasingly strained as Gross struggled to navigate rising interest rates and client withdrawals in the past year. Since El-Erian announced his resignation, triggering a management reorganization, Gross has said his firm is now in better shape than before and he may have been premature in anointing him as his heir apparent.

Gross has stumbled in the past year after building one of the best long-term track records in the industry during a bond bull market. Since the 70-year-old examined his legacy in an investment outlook a year ago entitled “Man in the Mirror,” his $232 billion Total Return Fund has trailed 89% of similar funds. Over the past five years, the fund is beating 58% of peers.

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