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Rekenthaler Report

Why Putnam Has Struggled With Its Absolute Return Funds

Absolute return is an aspiration, not a realistic investment objective.

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In Like a Lion
The biggest fund happening of 2009 was the launch of the Putnam Absolute Return series. In the late '90s, Putnam had briefly been the nation’s largest mutual fund company, but the next decade was unkind, to put the matter gently. To state the problem more directly, Putnam had no outstanding funds whatsoever and precious few good ones. It had nothing to sell.

Below were the Morningstar Ratings for Putnam’s funds (oldest share class), in January 2009. (As a refresher, the star ratings are assigned quantitatively based on a fund’s past performance and are distributed symmetrically so that there are equal amounts of low and high ratings.)

John Rekenthaler does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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