|Key people||Robert L. Reynolds, CEO|
|Products||401(k)s, mutual funds, retirement plans|
|Revenue||$359 million (2006)|
Putnam Investments is a privately owned investment management firm founded in 1937 by George Putnam, who established one of the first balanced mutual funds, The George Putnam Fund of Boston. As one of the oldest mutual fund complexes in the United States, Putnam has over $125 billion in assets under management, 79 individual mutual fund offerings, 96 institutional clients, and over seven million shareholders and retirement plan participants.
Putnam is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and has offices in London, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Singapore. It is a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco and as of June 2011 managed $114 billion in assets across 80 mutual funds, 100 institutional clients, and 5 million shareholders and participants. It is currently owned by the Power Financial Corporation.
The firm was founded in 1937 by George Putnam who established one of the first balanced mutual funds: The George Putnam Fund of Boston. Lawrence Lasser joined the company in 1969 and it became "one of the largest managers of mutual funds."
2000 to 2006
The year 2000 marked the beginning of a gradual asset value decline that took Putnam's asset value from $400 billion to $192 billion.
In October 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Massachusetts Secretary of State each filed separate civil complaints against Putnam, alleging that the company's portfolio managers, along with some preferred clients, had engaged in the rapid trading of some of Putnam's mutual funds. A few days later, Lasser resigned and Charles "Ed" Haldeman, director of one of the company’s investment divisions, was promoted to chief executive.
Between 2003 and 2007 Haldeman initiated broad changes within the company. He created a new set of guiding principles for the company and reduced the company's staff by 11 percent, including the elimination of 25 of the highest-paid executive positions. He reduced senior management compensation to half of what it was in 2000 and adjusted portfolio managers compensation to encourage more long term thinking and planning.
In early 2004, the company admitted to allowing its portfolio managers and some investors to market time its funds. Under agreements with the SEC and the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Putnam paid $110 million in fines and restitution to settle charges with the state and federal regulators. After allegations of improper trading became public, Putnam's investors withdrew at least $28 billion from its stock and bond funds over a six-month period. By May, 70 civil actions had been filed against Putnam for allegedly engaging in improper trading.
In 2005, Putnam paid $40 million to settle charges made in 2003 that it "did not tell fund investors or directors about paying" brokerage firms for recommending its mutual funds to clients. Afterward, some investors withdrew their funds. This settlement was the final resolution in an investigation of Putnam’s payments to 80 brokers that was conducted over a three-year period.
Efforts to rebuild the company paid off and in 2006, 48 percent of the Putnam's mutual funds scored in the top 50 percent when compared with funds in their peer group, an increase of 8 percent from two years prior. However, that same year, an SEC lawsuit accused several former employees, including their transfer agency chief, of "defrauding several mutual funds and a corporate retirement plan of $4 million" so they could "cover up an investment-processing error." The lawsuit was in reference to an asset transfer to the Cardinal Health plan that was intentionally delayed by one day in January 2001. After failing to take advantage of a $4 million windfall, Putnam executives covered up the incident and attributed the loss to other mutual funds.
2007 to Present
In February 2007, Great-West Lifeco, which is controlled by Power Corporation of Canada, announced it would acquire Putnam Investments, a "troubled mutual fund manager," from the Marsh & McLennan Companies for the approximate price of $3.9 billion. The acquisition of Putnam was motivated by Great-West Lifeco's 2005 decision to expand into the United States. The following month, Putnam received the 2007 Optimas Award for Ethical Practice in recognition of its then-recent efforts to create a more ethical company culture.
In June 2007, two of Putnam's former managing directors agreed to each pay a $400,000 civil penalty to settle charges of improper trading of mutual fund shares according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The two directors also agreed to a one-year suspension from any role as an investment advisor. They settled their charges without any admission or denial of guilt. That same month, Lasser, Putnam's former chief executive, agreed to pay $75,000 as a settlement against accusations by the Security and Exchanges Commission that he "failed to disclose that the investment company used fund assets to pay brokerage firms for preferred marketing agreements."
In 2008, Haldeman was replaced by Robert L. Reynolds who was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Putnam Investments. In November, Reynolds told the Financial Times that he would restructure the company by merging several equity funds, basing compensation on performance, and laying off 47 workers including managers.
On September 18, 2008, Putnam directors voted to liquidate its $12.3 billion Putnam Prime Money Market Fund and return capital to its approximately 155 professional investors. According to a statement issued by the company, the decision came as a result of "significant redemption pressure." The fund's board of trustees decided that "selling assets to meet redemption [obligations] would risk losses for the remaining investors."
In 2009, according to a Putnam press release, Reynolds designed a 10-point plan and launched an effort calling for public and private collaboration to strengthen the nation's retirement system. That year, Putnam launched the industry’s first suite of absolute return funds available to U.S. retail investors and re-entered the institutional defined contribution business with a 401(k) product offering.
Putnam was the first mutual fund company to implement the voluntary "Mutual Fund Protection Principles", an industry standard for compliance and investor protection. Putnam also has a Risk parity strategy called the Putnam Total Return.
- Kerber, Ross (February 11, 2009). "Putnam Investments will lay off 10 percent of its staff". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- About Putnam Putnam webpage. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Putnam at a glance Putnam webpage. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
-  Businessweek, Investing, Putnam Investments profile, Retrieved June 2011
-  NY Times, Former Chief of Putnam to Receive $78 million, Retrieved June 2011
-  NY Times, Putnam Investments Forms Alliance with Nippon Life, June 6, 1997, Retrieved June 2011
- NY Times, Canadian Insurance Giant to Buy Putnam, Ian Austin, Feb 2007, Retrieved June 2011
-  Putnam Investments: Optimas Award Winner for Ethical Practice, Jessica Marquez, March 26, 2007, Retrieved June 2011
- Fuerbringer, Jonathan (2004-04-09). "Putnam Settles S.E.C. Complaint On Market Timing For $110 Million - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
-  NY Times, Ex-PUtnam Chief Settles, Jan 10 2007, Retrieved June 2011
-  Six Ex-Putnam Officials Accused of Fraud, Jan 4 2006, Retrieved June 2011
-  History, MMC website
-  NY Times, June 2007, SEC Charges Settled, Retrieved June 2011
- "Robert L. Reynolds named President and CEO of Great-West Lifeco U.S. subsidiary Putnam Investments, LLC". June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
-  Financial Times, New Chief Shakes Up Putnam Investments, Debra Brewster Nov 17 2008, Retrieved June 2011
- Putnam Money Market Fund to Liquidate as Investors Rush to Sell Los Angeles Times
-  NY Times, Sept 18 2008, Retrieved June 2011
- Press release. Putnam Investments CEO Reynolds To Call For Sweeping Retirement Reform Agenda. Putnam webpage. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
-  Retrieved January 12, 2009.
-  Reuters, Putnam Investments Wins DALBAR Service Award for the 21st Year, Jan 20 2011, Retrieved June 2011
-  Putnam webpage. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
- Doing What's Right For Investors Putnam webpage. Retrieved April 30, 2007.[dead link]
- IPE Magazine, Risk Parity Primer, April 1, 2011, Andrew Dudley, Retrieved July 2011