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Market Timing at Putnam Now Put at $100 Million


An independent consultant said that rapid in-and-out trading in mutual funds at Putnam Investments cost investors as much as $100 million, a figure that is 10 times the previous estimate of damages.

Regulators appointed Harvard Business School Professor Peter Tufano to assess the extent of damage caused by market timing at Putnam. Boston-based Putnam, the country's seventh-largest mutual fund company, was one of the first ones to be slapped with civil fraud charges in the industry-wide scandal that surfaced in the fall of 2003.

In settling with the Massachusetts Securities Division and the Securities and Exchange Commission last April, Putnam, which did not admit or deny wrongdoing, agreed to pay $110 million in penalties, with $25 million of that in restitution fees. In light of Tufano's findings, regulators may ask the fund firm to pay up another $75 million in restitution. William Galvin, Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth, who oversees the state's securities division, confirmed the $100 million estimate. He added that regulators would determine which individual investors were shortchanged by the trading and return them the money, though, he said, that could take a while.

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