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Putnam Investments Cuts 4.4% of Staff After 2011 Assets Fall

Putnam Investments LLC, the Boston-based investment manager run by Robert Reynolds, eliminated 78 jobs, or 4.4 percent of its workforce, yesterday after clients pulled money from the company’s funds and assets shrank in 2011.

The firm, owned by Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West Lifeco Inc., concentrated the cuts in areas such as information systems and support staff, Jon Goldstein, a spokesman, said today in an interview. The cuts didn’t affect investing or sales roles, he said.

“We are essentially trimming select areas and continuing to invest heavily in elements of our business, including investment management, distribution and our retirement offerings,” Goldstein said.

Putnam’s assets under management declined about 2.5 percent to $117 billion last year, Goldstein said, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was flat. Clients withdrew $3.32 billion from Putnam’s mutual funds in the first 11 months of the year, according to data compiled by research firm Morningstar Inc.

Including its institutional business, Putnam had net deposits of $2 billion in 2011 through the third quarter, Goldstein said. Fourth-quarter figures weren’t available, he said.

The job cuts were reported earlier by the Boston Globe.

Reynolds, a former vice chairman at Fidelity Investments, has made a number of strategic and personnel changes aimed at rebuilding Putnam since joining the firm in 2008 as chief executive officer. Those moves include introducing funds aimed at reducing the volatility of returns for investors, placing a new emphasis on retirement-oriented investing and hiring former Fidelity colleagues Walter Donovan as chief investment officer and Richard “Shep” Perkins as director of global research and co-manager of the Putnam Research Fund and Putnam Global Sector Fund.

Putnam’s assets peaked at $420 billion in 2000 before poor performance and a trading scandal caused investors to flee.

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