Sagging equity markets and the Sept. 11 tragedy amounted to a tough third quarter for insurance giant Marsh & McLennan Cos. and its subsidiary, Putnam Investments. Marsh’s third quarter profits plummeted 40% and Putnam’s third quarter operating income dropped 30% from the same period last year.

Putnam’s third quarter revenues fell 29% to $616 million and it experienced $3 billion in net redemptions for the third quarter.It ended the third quarter with $286 billion in assets under management compared to $406 billion for the same period the prior year, the company said.

The attack took an especially heavy toll on Marsh & McLennan, which lost 295 of its employees in the tragedy, said J.W. Greenberg, chairman of the company.

As a result of the attacks it reported a pretax charge in the third quarter of $173 million, a good portion of which will be covered by insurance. However, the charges net of insurance include $55 million related to services and benefits paid to the family members of the 295 Marsh & McLennan employees who lost their lives in the attack, the company said.

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