Putnam Investments CEO Ed Haldeman said this week that he hopes the current wave of layoffs at the company will lead to a leaner environment that is more likely to attract new assets, but analysts believe the measures are precursors for an eminent sale, sister publication American Banker reports.

Michael Cherkasky, chief executive officer at Marsh & McLennan , Putnam’s parent company, denied allegations that its star asset management unit is on the block, and Haldeman, in an interview with American Banker, put a brave spin on a long series of setbacks tied to the company’s regulatory troubles.

Industry experts like Elizabeth Rowe, an analyst at Find/SVP , a New York-based employee search and consulting firm, dismiss Haldeman’s optimistic projections and equate recent events at the firm to blood in the water for investment bankers searching for lucrative new deals.

Putnam’s asset base and headcount, respectively, slipped from $263 billion and 5,700 employees at the end of last year to $209 billion and 5,000 individuals by Oct. 31. Employees learned Monday of plans to eliminate another 100 jobs, a 2% cut, in addition to an 11% staff reduction. In addition, Putnam’s third-quarter earnings released last week revealed a 16% decline in revenues, down to $429 million, and 60% operating income drop, to $55 million, from second-quarter reports.

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