'Ad' Interpublic To List of Companies Dumping Putnam

November 11, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Interpublic Group of Cos., the advertising agency representing Putnam Investments, has decided to pull its pension fund assets currently under management at the mutual fund company.

The twist comes in the timing of Interpublic’s decision, which came just days prior to Putnam launching a massive ad campaign across the United States telling the public about changes at the fund company.   Overall, it is estimated that Putnam spent upwards of $100,000 for each full-page newspaper ad, according to a New York Post report.

The ads, created by Interpublic’s Boston ad shop Hill Holiday Connors Cosmopulos, are in the form of an open letter to the public.   In them, Putnam’s new chief executive, Charles Haldeman, who replaced former chief Lawrence Lasser last week (See  Trading Probes Muscle Out Strong, Putnam Chiefs ), pleads: “We’re changing Putnam Investment. For the investors. For the employees. For the better.”   Each of the full-page ads ran in newspapers and financial publications across the country including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Time and the Boston Herald.  

Further, the ads go on to say “Putnam will lead the mutual fund industry in reform” and it “will restore accountability. Integrity and confidence.”

Interpublic’s move only adds to the parade of assets that have been flowing out of Putnam since the mutual fund firm was implicated September 26 in a probe by Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin (See  Union K Plan Trading Activity Leads to Putnam Fund Probe ) into possible market-timing and late-trading violations.   Overall, the total withdraws of assets represent approximately 5% of Putnam’s assets.

Among the groups pulling assets from the embattled mutual fund company are public pension funds, a list that includes Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Iowa have pulled billions out of Putnam. (See  PA, RI, VT, IA, NY Pensions Fire Putnam ).