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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Marsh Unit Veteran Responds To SEC Charges

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A former Putnam Fiduciary Trust Company managing director says federal regulators should leave him out of a suit they filed against several of the company’s other former executives.

Kevin Crain, who once ran the retirement plan administration unit at Putnam Fiduciary, Boston, says he helped draw his company’s attention to the matter at the heart of the case.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission moved Tuesday to file a suit in the U.S. District Court in Boston that accuses Crain and 5 other former Putnam Fiduciary executives of conspiring to defraud a Putnam Fiduciary retirement plan client and shareholders of several Putnam mutual funds.

Because of a 1-day delay in fulfilling an asset allocation request, the client’s retirement plan members lost about $4 million in invest gains, SEC officials allege in their complaint.

Instead of admitting the error, the executives tried to shift $2.7 million of the difference onto the books of Putnam mutual funds and let the retirement plan bear the rest of the cost of the error, the officials allege.

The SEC says it is not charging Putnam Fiduciary or its parent, Putnam Investments, which is a unit of Marsh and McLennan Companies Inc., New York, because Putnam reported the problems itself and has provided “swift, extensive and extraordinary cooperation.”

Crain’s attorney, Anthony Mirenda, has issued a statement criticizing SEC officials’ decision to name Crain has a defendant.

“We are disappointed that the government would choose to shoot the messenger with this complaint,” Mirenda says in the statement. “Mr. Crain is the person who proactively brought this situation to the attention of internal auditors and has cooperated in the government’s investigation throughout. The government chose not to pursue Putnam because of its disclosure and cooperation, but its disclosure and cooperation was only possible because of Mr. Crain’s disclosure and cooperation.

“Mr. Crain will fight this to clear his name because he did not participate in any fraud. He was not aware of the accounting done by Putnam’s fund accounting department. He believed that ‘as-of’ transactions were routinely used at Putnam to correct errors and that these transactions in particular had been approved by appropriate people senior to him at Putnam… and were processed with the normal safeguards and internal controls at Putnam at the time.”


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