New Putnam CEO Has 'Winning' on His Mind

Putnam President and CEO Robert J. “Bob″ Reynolds said in a conference call he approaches his new role with one thought in mind: “winning.″

“As we move forward, Putnam will be a winner in the money management industry,” said Reynolds. Reynolds will replace Charles E. “Ed” Haldeman, who will continue as chairman of Putnam Investment Management, LLC (see Fidelity Alum Reynolds to Lead Putnam Investments).

Reynolds admitted that Putnam has had some heavy outflows in the past few years, but noted that many classes have been positive asset flows. However, that has not been the case in the equity asset class, and Reynolds said the team is working on it. That was one reason for the announcement on Wednesday of new senior portfolio managers (see Putnam Takes on Portfolio Managers from American Century).

Reynolds said that after a period of getting to know the organization and its people, he will be taking a look at its product lineup to make sure Putnam is represented in all investment areas. He stressed that he believes the Putnam brand is an asset, not a liability, and the firm will remain with the Putnam brand.

Reynolds asserted that Putnam will have a large role in the growth of the defined contribution business. He said Putnam Investments will look at the many ways in which we can participate in DC area—including asset management and recordkeeping. Reynolds is a big fan of bundling and thinks it will be essential to Putnam going forward.

More specifically, Reynolds noted that the aging of Baby Boomers is creating the largest movement of capital in this country—with assets of $7 trillion now in the over-60 market and growing to $20 trillion by 2012—and Putnam wants to position with partners to have the right products and services for this group. He said that the move to a DC retirement landscape is also a worldwide phenomenon, and Putnam wants to be a player.

Reynolds also recognized that the defined benefit retirement plan market still has $2 trillion in assets, and to grow the DB business, Putnam must be creative and offer the right products to take the business away from competitors.

One advantage in Reynolds’ experience at Fidelity, he said, is it gave him a look at what is happening in the retirement marketplace, knowledge of what competitors have and do not have, and knowledge of what it takes to compete. Using another sports analogy (Reynolds was a finalist for NFL Commissioner last year), he said he wants “the best team on the field,’ and if Putnam has to go outside of the firm to get that, it will.

Finally, Reynolds said that cost-cutting is not on his agenda. “No company has ever cut their way to success or greatness, but any organization should be efficient and resources should be in right place,’ he said.