Boston-based Putnam Investments announced February 11 that it would lay off 260 people, about 10% of its workforce, with a spokesman saying the cuts were entirely due to poor overall economic conditions. However, its parent company, the big Canadian insurer Great-West Lifeco, announced February 13 that it took a $1.35 billion (Canadian) charge in charges related to Putnam in the quarter ending December 31, leading the big Canadian insurer to post its first quarterly loss ($907 million) in more than 10 years.
Great-West acquired Putnam in August 2007, and hired former Fidelity vice chairman Robert Reynolds to help turn around the asset management firm in July 2008. One of Reynolds’s goals is to increase the prominence of Putnam’s retirement planning business, and on February 3 he hired Edmund Murphy as managing director and head of the firm’s defined contribution business. Murphy, who served as served as executive VP of distribution for Personal and Workplace Investing (PWI) at Fidelity Investments from 2007-08, will report to Putnam’s Head of Global Marketing and Products Jeffrey Carney.