Texas Joins State Pensions Bailing On Putnam

November 10, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Joining a growing list of state pension funds to bail out on the beleaguered Putnam Investments is the state of Texas, which is pulling $108.5 million that comes on top of the $14 billion in assets the company had already lost.

The Austin Business Journal quoted Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander as saying her office has been dissatisfied with the returns on the money formerly at the Boston-based Putnam.

Word of the Texas move comes as the Boston Business Journal reported that pension funds and individual investors have yanked $14 billion in assets from Putnam since the end of October, according to a Putnam US Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Putnam now has $263 billion in assets, according to the filing, down from $277 billion in assets as of October 31.

Assets 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 ). But the withdrawals have picked up since Putnam was charged with civil fraud by state and federal regulators in late October, part of an expanding investigation into improper trading in the $7-trillion mutual fund industry (See  Market Timing Leads to “Late” Departure of Putnam Fund Managers ).

The withdrawals represent about 5% of Putnam’s assets. In recent days, public pension funds have rushed to cut their ties to Putnam — or at least publicly announce they were prepared to do so. Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Iowa have pulled billions out of Putnam. California, Connecticut, Florida, Oregon and Washington may also terminate their relations with the fund company (See    PA, RI, VT, IA, NY Pensions Fire Putnam ).