Putnam Investments' assets under management slipped to $195 billion in the third quarter, a 6.7% decline from $209 billion the year before, parent company Marsh & McLennan indicated in an earnings report, Reuters reports.

MMC Chairman Michael Cherkasky said the decline was due to past performance, and that once rolling five-year returns move past the end of the bull market in March 2000, comparisons will improve and assets will return.

"When you look at investment performance, people are looking at one, three or five years, and that is just a fact. When we have the really sub-par performance of 2000 start to drop off, we'll have better five-year numbers. We'll have a much better sales story. We just need to give it time," Cherkasky said.

Before investigators launched their mutual fund trading scandal at the end of September 2003, beginning with Putnam, the firm had $260 billion in assets under management and was the fifth-largest fund company in the nation. Today, it is the ninth.

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