Funds 2: Pigs Fly at Putnam
By Amy Feldman

(MONEY Magazine) – >> Nothing like a scandal to spur change. After being sued by regulators--and watching investors flee--Putnam Investments has moved to cut fees and improve shareholder disclosure. As we argued in our December 2003 issue ("The Greed Machine"), by the time the fund scandal had broken, Putnam had "morphed from an investment firm into a marketing monster that all too often pursued its own growth at the expense of its fund investors." Seems the monster has mellowed: Putnam now vows to cut front-end sales charges on class-A shares, limit expense ratios on all funds to below their peer-group averages, and tell investors how much money its employees and trustees have invested in Putnam funds. Kudos to new chief executive Ed Haldeman for making such shareholder-friendly changes. Sure, Putnam could go further (detailing its portfolio managers' holdings, for example), but at least investors now have real reasons to believe Haldeman is serious when he says that the 67-year-old fund giant is "determined to earn back the trust and confidence of the marketplace." --AMY FELDMAN