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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Putnam Plays Up PM Changes Today

News summary by MFWire's editors

On the one year anniversary of Robert Reynold’s ascension to the role of president and CEO of Putnam Investments, the fund firm revealed a new advertising campaign focused on showcasing the changes it has undergone over the past twelve months.

The campaign, titled “This is Putnam Today,” will promote measures put in place by both newer and veteran managers over the past year that aim to enhance and generate investment performance. A new Twitter page will also allow financial professionals and investors to follow the latest developments at Putnam. The initiative will kick off with print and online ads that feature the managers of six of Putnam’s large cap funds.

Reynolds has recently received a great deal of press attention for his accomplishments at Putnam – most notably for his reengineering of the firm’s investment strategy and his recruitment of high-profile portfolio managers to manage Putnam’s funds have recieved critical praise (see The MFWire , 6/30/09).

Company Press Release

BOSTON, July 8, 2009 — Putnam Investments today announced a new advertising campaign entitled “This Is Putnam Today.” The campaign focuses on the dramatic changes at the 70-year-old investment company since Robert L. Reynolds became president and chief executive officer one year ago.

The first advertisements in the campaign, which will appear in the July print and online versions of financial newspapers and trade publications, spotlight the managers of six large-capitalization equity mutual funds. Some of these managers have been recently recruited to Putnam. Others are longer-term Putnam veterans. All have contributed to the impressive broad-based performance generated during the past year.

“‘This Is Putnam Today’ highlights the changes put in place at Putnam that were designed to deliver sustained, superior investment performance by existing and new talent at the firm. By showcasing our large-cap managers and the strong performance they have been generating, we hope to inform financial professionals and investors alike of the value we can provide,” said Putnam Investments’ Head of Global Marketing and Products Jeffrey R. Carney.

The portrait that emerges from the first ad is of five of the six investment professionals bringing a fresh approach to their funds, having taken responsibility for management of the showcased funds in the last year. The one incumbent fund manager in the ad, Bartlett Geer of Putnam Equity Income Fund, has been recognized for generating strong long-term performance for his fund.

The entire slate of managers – and their funds – featured in the advertisement are:

  • Nick Thakore, Putnam Voyager Fund (PVOYX): Went from the 83rd percentile last year to the 1st percentile this year, ranking #3 of 841 funds in its class.
  • Robert Ewing, The Putnam Fund for Growth and Income (PGRWX): In the 9th percentile this year, ranking 46th of 564 funds; its three-year record ranked it in the 85th percentile.
  • Jeffrey Sacknowitz, Putnam International New Opportunities Fund (PINOX): Ranked in the 17th percentile (26th of 159); up from the 59th percentile in its 10-year record.
  • Bartlett Geer, Putnam Equity Income Fund (PEYAX): Ranked in the 9th percentile (26th of 294); up from the 26th percentile in its 10-year record.
  • Andrew Matteis, Putnam Research Fund (PNRAX): Ranked in the 19th percentile (171st of 936 funds); up from the 70th percentile in its three-year record.
  • Robert Brookby, Putnam Growth Opportunities Fund (POGAX): Ranked in the 5th percentile (42nd of 841 funds); up from the 92nd percentile in its 10-year record.

    Ranking periods ended June 30, 2009. (Note: A year ago, Putnam’s five biggest large-cap funds averaged in the 83rd percentile for the proceeding one-year period, according to Lipper. As of June 30, 2009, these same five funds averaged in the 16th percentile for one year.) An advertisement featuring Nick Thakore, manager of Putnam Voyager Fund, one of the firm’s flagship products, will follow the initial multi-manager ad.

    The coordinated print and online campaign refers readers to Putnam’s Web site, which seeks to use state-of-the-art streaming video. The campaign will include an important social media component through the introduction of the company’s new Twitter page, where financial professionals and investors can follow the latest developments at Putnam at http://twitter.com/putnamtoday. In addition, Reynolds will be “tweeting” regularly at http://twitter.com/robertlreynolds.

    “Through this campaign, we are telling people to take a look at us now,” said Carney. “Putnam has undertaken one of the most aggressive turnaround efforts ever, and we have focused on putting the right people, products, and platforms in place, including the building of a first-class, high-talent research team to drive our fundamental investment approach. We look forward to continuing to earn the confidence of our investors and their advisors each and every day.”

    Rebuilding Putnam Investments

    Since joining Putnam on July 1, 2008, Reynolds has taken a number of steps to improve performance and strengthen Putnam’s investment unit, including:
  • A restructuring of Putnam’s equity investment division to increase individual fund manager accountability and responsibility and realign manager and analyst incentives to reward those who deliver top-quartile results for clients;
  • Senior hires in trading, portfolio management, and research, including David Glancy; Nick Thakore; Robert Ewing; and Walter Donovan, the firm’s chief investment officer;
  • The launch of products including the industry’s first suite of target absolute return mutual funds*; the Spectrum Funds, which invest in the securities of undervalued, leveraged companies; the Global Sector Funds, which target stocks in dynamic sectors across global markets; and Putnam RetirementReady® Funds, a suite based on actively managed portfolios.

    Reynolds, recently ranked as the third-most influential person in the defined-contribution plan business, also has recommitted Putnam to the retirement market, launching a new defined-contribution platform for plan sponsors. Reynolds also recently proposed a sweeping retirement reform agenda based on strengthening 401(k)s to reliably deliver lifelong income to workers.

    About Putnam Investments

    Founded in 1937, Putnam Investments is a leading global money management firm with over 70 years of investment experience. As of June 30, 2009, Putnam had $102.8 billion in assets under management. Putnam has offices in Boston, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney. For more information, go to putnam.com.

    *Putnam’s target absolute return funds are not intended to outperform stocks and bonds during strong market rallies.

    Putnam mutual funds are distributed by Putnam Retail Management. 

    Edited by: Meredith Mazzilli

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