NU Online News Service, Jan. 27, 2004, 4:15 p.m. EST – Putnam Investments, Boston, is trying to lure investors back by cutting fund expenses.[@@]

The embattled fund company says it will reduce the front-end sales charge on most A shares for equity fund purchases below $500,000 and fixed-income fund purchases below $250,000. Putnam will lower the charge by limiting the portion of sales charges it retains to a maximum of 0.25%.

Putnam says it will absorb the savings itself rather than sharing the burden with the advisors who sell its funds.

For Putnam international and global funds that had short-term trading problems, Putnam will cap the expense ratios at Sept. 30, 2003 levels, to prevent shareholders in those funds from paying higher management fees or other expenses as a result of reduced asset levels after that date.

Putnam also will reduce the maximum allowable purchase of B class shares on any one day from $250,000 to less than $100,000 per trade.

In another, related move, Putnam says it will give investors more information about its funds and its operations. One change will require Putnam to post the total value of Putnam employee and trustee holdings in all Putnam funds, including the amounts invested in Putnam employees’ retirement plans.

Putnam, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., New York, has faced serious investor relations problems in recent months, ever since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused it of giving some investors special treatment.