Putnam Investments is laying off 78 employees, or 4.4% of its workforce. The layoffs, primarily in operations, follow a 3% decline in assets under management, from $121 billion in 2010, to $117 billion in 2011.

The news comes on the heels of Putnam’s announcement that it expanded its wholesaling staff by 20% last year, bringing its total external wholesalers to 54 and nearly as many internally. Prior to the layoff, Putnam had a total of 1,767 employees.

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