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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Putnam Releases Proxy Guidelines

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Putnam Funds are taking the lead in complying with the new proxy disclosure regulations. The directors of the Boston-based funds yesterday released the proxy voting guidelines for securities owned by the funds on the Individual Investor section firm's Web site.

The proxy voting guidelines cover two major areas: how Putnam will vote in connection with the election of directors and how Putnam will vote on proposals made by company boards and shareholders. Putnam directors said their desired goal is to ensure that corporations follow the highest legal and ethical practices in building wealth for shareholders.

"The thrust of Putnam's proxy guidelines is to strengthen the accountability of corporate boards of directors to shareholders," said John A. Hill, chairman of the Board of the Putnam Trustees. "The principles inherent in the guidelines emphasize the need for strong boards that are effectively independent of company management and that are held strictly accountable for the long-term performance and conduct of their companies. We will withhold our support for boards which do not adopt our standards, either in fact or in spirit."

Hill added that the independence standards required by the Putnam Trustees are consistent in most cases, and more stringent in other cases, with the standards which were proposed last year by the New York Stock Exchange.

"These standards have been the subject of much debate for several years. We see no reason why any public company board should not be implementing these basic standards at its 2003 stockholder meeting instead of the later dates contemplated in the NYSE proposals," said Hill.  

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