Putnam Investments Tuesday announced a host of initiatives to improve fund transparency and lower costs – which today’s Wall Street Journal estimates will reduce fees by some $35 million.

The moves were voluntary and not a part of the firm’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gordon Forrester, director of marketing for Putnam’s retail funds operations, told MME. But meanwhile, down in the Senate fund hearings yesterday, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer testified "consumers have been ripped off" by fund companies such as Putnam through exorbitantly high fees. Spitzer also very heatedly defended his determination to reduce fund fees, which many in the industry have criticized not only as not being the primary issue at hand, but also outside the purview of the free markets and Spitzer’s jurisdiction.

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