Putnam Investments is considering merging or shutting down some of its funds, the company said today. The firm is the fourth largest in the industry with approximately $300 billion in assets under management.

"Putnam is in the final stages of a comprehensive product line-up review," Putnam said in a statement. "The company is considering making changes, possibly closing or merging funds. However, it is up to the Putnam fund trustees to make a final recommendation."

Following that, it would be up to fund shareholders to approve the recommendations. The firm did not say which funds it is considering merging or closing, nor did it indicate a timeframe for an announcement of a decision.

After drawing in more than $17.5 billion in net flows in 2000, the third highest total in the industry, Putnam experienced net outflows of $4.5 billion last year, according to Financial Research Corporation. Only Janus and Morgan Stanley Investment Advisors lost more.

Putnam’s funds have not fared any better in the beginning of 2002. In January, the firm had net outflows of $712 million, second only to Janus, according to FRC. Meanwhile, Fidelity Investments, Vanguard Group and American Funds, the three complexes ahead of Putnam in terms of assets under management experienced inflows of $3.2 billion, $6.2 billion and $5.0 billion, respectively, in January, according to FRC.

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