Putnam Investments plans to continue to aggressively expand its array of products even as market volatility has forced some competitors to retrench.
Robert L. Reynolds, the Boston-based company’s president and chief executive officer, said Putnam would like to expand its array of lifetime income products this summer. “The income are—and really the whole retirement income/lifetime retirement income realm story—has yet to be played,” he said in an interview Monday. “We are working on several products in that area.”
Reynolds thinks there are a range of opportunities for Putnam to develop products for Boomers “as they age and the need for lifetime income solutions becomes more evident. We are trying to get there in a hurry with the right solution.”
Since Reynolds took the helm at Putnam in July 2009, the company has added 15 mutual funds. On Monday, it announced that it plans to launch a suite of three U.S. multi-cap equity funds by late September to provide investors and advisers with an approach to investing by style — value, core/blend, growth — regardless of market capitalization of the underlying securities.
Reynolds hopes these products provide advisers “flexibility to generate secure returns for clients.”
The multi-cap equity funds will join a series of solutions-based product suites that have been launched or expanded by Putnam in the past 18 months, including Putnam Absolute Return Funds, Putnam Spectrum Funds and Putnam Global Sector Funds. The absolute returns funds, which were introduced a year ago, just passed $2 billion in assets under management.
Reynolds that over 7,000 advisers are selling the absolute return funds and most have sold it “multiple times.”
He said Putnam is interested in continuing to add products “where we can add value and meet the needs of the marketplace.” Jon Goldstein, a spokesman for Putnam, said it has closed six funds since Reynolds joined the firm from Fidelity Investments. Putnam plans to “get the lineup to look and feel the way that makes the most sense in this environment,” Goldstein said.
In addition to absolute-return strategies, Putnam still believes that investors must consider allocating more heavily to equity products. Most investors are “way under-allocated to equities,” Reynolds said.
“The equity market since the fourth quarter of 2008 has been very, very strong,” he said. “Yes, it has had a slight correction, but when we look at earnings of companies globally, we expect record levels in 2011. For a hundred years, stock pricing has followed earnings, and I don’t think that that will change. An investor’s long-term horizon must include equity exposure to be successful.”
As of March 31, Putnam had $118 billion in assets under management.