Nevada Pension Flees Putnam's Clutches

November 12, 2003 ( - Assets continue to pour out of the beleaguered Putnam Investments as Nevada officials took back their $400 million and headed for the doors on Wednesday.

After a unanimous vote at their Carson City meeting, directors of the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System joined government officials in states across the country in fleeing from Putnam, which has been accused of turning a blind eye to improper trading practices, the Associated Press reported (See  Putnam Call-Center Rep Says Market-Timing Warnings Were Ignored ). The Putnam allegations are part of a much large sweeping probe of the mutual fund industry by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and state officials in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere.  

Dana Bilyeu, chief executive officer of the Nevada system, said she recommended the move because of the allegations against the Boston-based Putnam and because of poor performance.

“It was a combination of disruption to the Putnam investment team that has happened as a result of the most recent publicity … and underperformance since the inception” of its Nevada dealings, Bilyeu said. “They have been on our ‘watch’ list for a while.”

Similar pullouts had previously announced by pension funds in other states, including Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Putnam has lost more than $14 billion in assets since the allegations against it were leveled (See Texas Joins State Pensions Bailing On Putnam ). Putnam, whose assets now stand at about $263 billion, has denied any wrongdoing.