A $4.75-billion pair of Putnam
] mutual funds is about to transform as part of a big push at the Boston-based mutual fund shop.
| Katherine Collins
Head of Sustainable Investing
and Aaron Cooper confirm
that in March Putnam will effectively turn two multi-cap equity funds into ESG funds with similar strategies. The $4.3-billion Putnam Multi-Cap Growth Fund
will become the Putnam Sustainable Leaders Fund
, and the $450.2-million Putnam Multi-Cap Value Fund
will become the Putnam Sustainable Future Fund
. By Putnam's estimation, the transformation will make the Putnam Sustainable Leaders Funds into one of the biggest ESG funds on the market.
| Aaron M. Cooper
Chief Investment Officer -
the planned changes today in a pair of SEC filings
Both moves are part of what Cooper, chief investment officer of equities, calls "a major strategic initiative for Putnam." The initiative began in May 2017 when Collins joined
Putnam as the fund firm's first ever head of sustainable investing, leading a team that includes Stephanie Henderson
(a new hire last year) and Alexander Rickson
(a Putnam veteran).
"I get a lot of empire-building questions lately," Collins tells MFWire
, contrasting Putnam's approach with that of asset managers who consider ESG a "separate discipline" instead of tying it into the overall investment philosophy. "The goal is not to build a separate ESG empire."
Instead, Collins says, her team is helping ESG ideas "percolate through Putnam," working with other PMs and analysts.
"I'm thrilled with our specialized team of three," Collins says. "The biggest asset that we have here to work with is the engagement of our broader investment team ... The match of ESG and active management can be such a powerful one."
"The case was built very effectively early on," Cooper tells MFWire
Looking ahead, Cooper leaves the door open to future ESG transformations and launches.
"We're starting with these two products," Cooper says. "We'll always continue to look at the lineup and try to identify opportunities."
"You should expect over time to see more from us, at least on thought leadership and potentially on the product side as well," Cooper adds. "Putnam is consistently looking across its product lineup to try to identify areas where we can marry capabilities that we have with what we see in the market in terms of client demand."
The Putnam Multi-Cap Growth Fund launched in 1990 and is currently PMed by Richard Bodzy
and by senior vice president Rob Brookby
. Once it becomes the Putnam Sustainable Leaders Fund, Collins and Shep Perkins
, co-head of equities, will take over as PMs, while Brookby will leave Putnam.
The Putnam Multi-Cap Value Fund launched in 1999 and was PMed by James Polk
until the end of 2017 when Collins took over as PM. When the fund transforms into the Putnam Sustainable Future Fund, Collins will continues as PM and Henderson will become assistant PM.
Both transforming funds will continue to offer the same share classes in the same channels with the same fee structures, Cooper confirms.
Putnam had $171 billion in AUM as of December 31, including $72.06 billion in mutual fund AUM.
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