Steve Kirson, co-manager of the $2.2 billion Putnam OTC & Emerging Growth Fund, was dismissed by the firm. He had managed the fund since June 1996, along with Michael Mufson; Roland Gillis joined the portfolio management team in 2001. Messrs. Gillis and Mufson remain lead managers of the fund.
Stephen Oristaglio, deputy head of investments at Putnam, said the decision was the culmination of a series of changes to the fund. "Those changes have improved the funds risk management, deepened its research capability and improved the execution of its trades. We made what we felt was the necessary decision to streamline the team. Mr. Gillis said the fund has undergone adjustments in the investment process "with a goal of producing more consistent returns. The fund was the top performer 1999, according to Pensions & Investments survey of the top performing mutual funds most used in defined contribution plans, with an annual return of 127%. Returns in 2000 and 2001 were -51% and -46%, respectively, according to Morningstar.
Mr. Kirson was not available for comment.