Despite its position on the rating watch negative list, Marsh & McLennan, the parent company of maligned fund giant Putnam Investments, received a senior debt rating of A+ from Fitch. The company's short-term rating was placed at F1.
The ratings came even amid Putnam profit declines. "Although equity market volatility and operating problems depressed assets-under-management growth over recent years and caused Putnam to realize a material decline in operating profits," Fitch said in a release, "MMC's overall earnings have grown given very strong results in the insurance brokerage operation."
MMC's rating was placed on rating watch negative in November 2003, just after Putnam was named in the ongoing mutual fund industry investigation. Fitch admitted that as of now, Putnam's numbers are starting to "demonstrate stabilizing trends (or growing trends)."
While Putnam lost $54 billion in net redemption during 2003's fourth quarter, Fitch said that because of the stabilizing trends and as long as the company does not borrow money to pay back regulatory fines, Putnam may emerge "bruised but not broken from the scandal."