Investors continue to pull their money from Putnam Investments
. The fund firm suffered net withdrawals of about $21 billion — the largest among its peers — in 2005, according to The Wall Street Journal
Assets under management have shrunk to $188 billion, down 31 percent from $272 billion at the close of the third quarter of 2003, shortly before Putnam was implicated in the mutual fund trading scandal.
The figures indicate that Putnam, like other scandal-tainted firms such as Janus Capital Group and AIM Distributors, has not fully shaken off its blemished image, but the Journal article also pointed to another factor that led some investors to take out their money: weak fund performance.
"If Putnam's flagship products hadn't underperformed so significantly, we wouldn't even be talking about the scandal having impacted them," Neil Bathon
, president of Financial Research, told the paper.
Indeed, more than half of the money yanked from Putnam in 2005 was from four mediocre or underperforming funds. Worst hit was the firm's flagship Voyager
fund, which turned in a performance poorer than that of 75 percent of funds in its category over three years as of December 31.
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