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Rating:WSJ Reviews Reynolds' First Year on the Job at Putnam Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, June 29, 2009

WSJ Reviews Reynolds' First Year on the Job at Putnam

by: Meredith Mazzilli

A year after Robert Reynolds took the reins at Putnam Investments, the Wall Street Journal look at what it termed a "comeback" at the fund firm over the past year. Since taking the helm as Putnam’s CEO last year, Reynolds has instituted a number of changes: he switched from a multi-manager to a one-manager system, recruited managers from rival fund firms and largely abandoned quantitative strategies in favor of stock-picking based on fundamentals.The aggressive changes appear to have paid out over the past year as Putnam's fund performance gains traction against its peers.

Morningstar numbers show that as of June 24, Putnam was beating 53 percent of its category peers on average one-year returns. Last year, Putnam was only able to outshine 21 percent of rival funds. Putnam's large-cap offerings in particular seem to have carried out a successful turnaround, with large-cap offerings outperforming 78 percent of their peers, as opposed to 20 percent a year ago. Perhaps most notably, the beleaguered Putnam Voyager Fund has jumped to the top 1 percent of large-company funds in one-year performance, while last year its dismal performance landed it near the bottom of the list.

Under Reynolds' guidance, Putnam has seen some notable additions over the past several months. Putnam has recently launched several funds, including the Putnam Capital Spectrum Fund and Equity Spectrum Fund. And Reynolds has been recruiting Fidelity alums over to Putnam, such as Jeff Carney, Walter Donovan and Nick Thakore.
Thakore cautioned against reading too much into Putnam’s most recent successes, but did note that the tides of investor opinion regarding Putnam seem to have turned.

"No one should get too carried away with a few months of performance,” Thakore said. “There's a buzz in the investment community about Putnam now, where just a year ago it was so negative." 

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