Putnam to Enter Hedge Fund Business

June 5, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Mutual fund company Putnam Investments plans to offer hedge fund portfolios in the next six to 12 months, its chief executive officer said on Friday, according to Reuters.

“It is a business we would like to get into,” Robert Reynolds told a conference at Boston College, Reuters reports. “Over the next six to 12 months you will see something from us.”

Reynolds said the company will take the step to appeal to a different market segment.

Hedge funds attract wealthy investors, pension funds and endowments by promising to deliver better returns than mutual funds through techniques such as selling stocks short and using borrowed money, or leverage, and running a hedge fund can be very lucrative for managers because these portfolios can charge both management and performance fees, while most mutual funds charge only management fees.

Pension fund investors expect to put fresh money into hedge funds at the end of this year, suggesting demand will revive after it sagged late last year, when investors pulled a record $150 billion out in the fourth quarter, Reuters said

Reynolds said that Putnam expects to rely on managers it already employs to run these new portfolios and noted that a number of the people he brought in recently have experience in managing hedge funds, according to the news report.

Boston-based Putnam invests $102 billion and is a unit of Canadian insurer Great-West Lifeco Inc.