Putnam Investments is betting that actively managed products like its absolute-return funds will resonate more with skittish investors than index funds and exchange-traded products, which might be cheaper but mirror the market's volatility.

"Creating and preserving wealth is an active effort," said Robert L. Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam Investments, during a recent online investment seminar. "Active management has to be part of everyone's strategy going forward."

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