NEW YORK - Bill Gross, the manager of the world's largest bond fund, said on Wednesday that the demise of PIMCO's flagship fund is exaggerated.

In an interview on CNBC, Gross said too much attention had been paid to the $5 billion of net outflows from the Total Return Fund

in 2011.

Gross, who shares the title of co-chief investment officer with Mohamed El-Erian, said the cash outflow is negligible given that the fund ended the year with assets of $244 billion.

Last year was the first in its history that the Total Return Fund had seen net redemptions. The redemptions came as the fund returned about 4.1 percent for the year, lagging the benchmark fixed income index. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index posted returns of 7.8 percent last year.

Gross also said he sees the Federal Reserve keeping rates at ultra-low levels for the next three to four years.

Pacific Investment Management Company, or PIMCO, oversees more than $1.3 trillion, mostly in fixed income assets.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione, 646-223-6189; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Kenneth Barry)