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Rating:Marsh CEO: Putnam Not On The Auction Block Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Marsh CEO: Putnam Not On The Auction Block

by: Armie Margaret Lee

In case there were still any doubts, the chief executive of Marsh & McLennan reiterated his stance on Putnam Investments on Tuesday, saying Marsh has no plans to offload its investment management arm.

"We’re keeping Putnam," Michael Cherkasky told analysts in a conference call reported on by Reuters. "I want to make sure that I do say it clearly."

Cherkasky made the declaration after announcing New York-based Marsh’s fourth quarter and year-end results. He made similar statements on Putnam, which has bled assets since it was implicated in a fund trading scandal in the fall of 2003, in January and November.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, Putnam registered a 12-percent slide in revenues to $360 million. Assets under management totaled $188 billion, down from $211 billion in the same period in 2004.

Marsh posted a net income of $35 million, compared to a loss of $680 million a year ago.

Boston-based Putnam, which has lost about 28 percent in assets since the scandal, has found itself the subject of sale rumors. In December, Cherkasky hinted at the possibility of shedding businesses that aren’t growing, triggering a fresh round of speculation that Putnam is on the auction block.

On Tuesday, Cherkasky told analysts that Putnam "is a great brand-name company that has been wounded," adding: "We haven’t seen a compelling reason why we should change the ownership."

In a statement, Cherkasky said the fund firm "continues to reduce its net outflows as it slowly but steadily completes its turnaround." 

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