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Putnam to Lay Off 100, Adjust Large-Cap Equities

Putnam Investments announced last week that it will lay off approximately 100 people across all areas of the company, "to improve the operating efficiency of Putnam," Chief Executive Officer Charles Haldeman said in a statement.

The announcement comes on the heels of parent company Marsh & McLennan Co.'s third-quarter earnings report, in which it indicated that a 94% falloff in earnings would force it to cut 5% of its workforce, or 3,000 jobs. At that time, MMC indicated it would eliminate as many as 750 positions at Putnam and its Mercer human resources consulting unit. The latest cuts come on top of 700 positions that Putnam has eliminated this year.

The firm announced third-quarter net income of $21 million, or 4 cents a share, down from $357 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier.

"This has been a difficult time for the company," CEO Michael Cherkasky said in a statement, referring to the bid-rigging and price-fixing probe at the firm's insurance unit, which has wiped out 42% of the firm's market value since the investigation began, not to mention the market-timing investigation at Putnam. "We recognize the seriousness of the problems we are facing and are moving quickly to correct them. Unfortunately, we must also adjust staff levels based on the realities of the marketplace and our current situation."

As part of its announcement Monday, Putnam also said it would restructure its fundamental, quantitative, U.S. and international large-cap equities investment teams under Josh Brooks, who has been named chief investment officer while still retaining the titles of head of global equity research and chief executive officer of core equities.

The reorganization mirrors a similar adjustment in the small-cap unit, said Steve Oristaglio, head of investments.