As the financial planning industry looks for new investment strategies that will also protect principal, Pacific Investment Management Co., the Newport Beach, Calif., bond giant, aims to lead the way-and, at the same time, become a major broker-dealer. "They are way ahead of the market," says Marty Kurtz, founder and president of The Planning Center, a fee-only financial planning firm in Moline, Ill., and president of the FPA.

Over the past year and a half, the company has introduced several innovations. For example, it rolled out its first actively managed stock fund, the Pimco EqS Pathfinder Fund.

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