Investors liked the idea of absolute return mutual funds, pumping $149.6 million into Putnam Investments' suite of the funds in their inaugural quarter.

Launched on Jan. 13, the Putnam Absolute Return 100 Fund, 300 Fund, 500 Fund and 700 Fund aim to seek total above-inflation returns of 1%, 3%, 5% or 7%, respectively, as measured by Treasury bills. The funds are designed to provide positive returns whether markets rise or fall.

“We are pleased that the target absolute return mutual funds have gotten off to such a strong start,” said Putnam President and CEO Robert Reynolds. “The absolute return fund suite is unique in that it enables financial advisers to achieve diversification and customize their clients’ portfolios without taking a one-size-fits-all approach, and that makes them appealing to investors and investment professionals alike.”

In the 10 weeks since the funds were launched, more than 180 broker-dealer and investment advisory firms have offered the suite on their platforms and almost 1,300 financial advisers have sold the funds, Putnam said.

“The great reception that these funds have received shows that financial advisors and investors are eager for strategies that offer some hope of returns above zero with less volatility than market indices or the ‘relative’ return funds that chase them," Reynolds said. "What we’re seeing here could be the beginning of a major new investment category.”

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