The Securities and Exchange Commission sure does talk a tough game, but when it came to its settlement with Putnam Investments of Boston earlier this month, the agency was speaking in whispers.

The firm agreed to pay $110 million total in separate settlements with the SEC and Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin. However, the SEC seemingly retracted its claws, backing away from the tough language and steep penalties it indicated it would seek if the sides went before an administrative law judge as planned (see MME 4/5/04).

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