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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

An 85-Year-Old Firm Preps 8 ETFs

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A $180-billion-AUM (as of April 30), 85-year-old, Boston-based mutual fund firm's team is officially prepping eight more ETFs. The launches would triple the firm's ETF lineup to 12 funds (including seven focused on ESG, up from two now), and the news comes one year after the firm debuted its first ETFs.

Carlo Forcione
Putnam Investments
Head of Product and Strategy
Today, Bob Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam Investments [profile], and Carlo Forcione, head of product and strategy at Putnam, unveil plans to launch five ESG ETFs (three focused on fixed income and two on quantitative equity). And last month, Forcione and Reynolds unveiled plans to launch a different trio of ETFs. Like Putnam's existing four ETFs, the eight planned ETFs will also be actively managed.

All eight planned ETFs will be series of the Putnam ETF Trust, with Putnam Investment Management, LLC as their investment advisors, and the funds will list on the NYSE Arca, Inc. Expense ratios, ticker symbols, and precise launch dates have not yet been revealed.

The Putnam PanAgora ESG International Equity ETF and the Putnam PanAgora ESG Emerging Markets Equity ETF will both be subadvised by PanAgora Asset Management, Inc., a Putnam affiliate. George Mussali, chief investment officer and head of research for equity at PanAgora, and Richard Tan, managing director of equity at PanAgora, will PM those two funds.

The other six upcoming ETFs will all be subadvised by Putnam Investments Limited. Michael Petro will PM the Putnam BDC Income ETF. William Rives will PM the Putnam BioRevolution ETF. Brian Freiwald will PM the Putnam Emerging Markets Ex-China ETF. Andrew Benson, Sriketan Mahanti, and Michael Salm (CIO of fixed income) will PM the Putnam ESG Core Bond ETF. Norman Boucher and Robert Salvin (co-head of corporate and tax-exempt credit) will PM the Putnam ESG High Yield ETF. And Benson, Joanne Driscoll (head of short term liquid markets), and Michael Lima will PM the Putnam ESG Ultra Short ETF.

The Putnam team is also specifically describing the Putnam BDC Income ETF, the Putnam BioRevolution ETF, and the Putnam Emerging Markets ex-China ETF as "actively managed, transparent" ETFs, meaning they'll disclose portfolio holdings daily like other traditional ETFs but in contrast with traditional open-end mutual funds. It's a good bet that the other planned ETFs will be translucent (i.e. semi-transparent or ANT, active non-transparent) funds, with disclosure frequency more akin to that of traditional mutual funds.

Also, the Putnam team reveals that the five new ESG ETFs, along with its two existing ESG ETFs, will be underlying components in a soon-to-be-transformed Putnam target-date fund (TDF) suite, which will become an ESG TDF suite.

No independent accounting firm is listed for the planned funds. The planned funds' other service providers will include: Dechert LLP as counsel; Foreside as principal distributor and underwriter; Ropes & Gray LLP as counsel to the independent trustees; and State Street Bank and Trust Company as custodian and transfer agent. 

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