The Washington State Investment Board, Olympia, terminated Putnam Investments as a manager of $585 million in international equities. The action "sends a clear message that the board has lost confidence in Putnam and establishes WSIB's expectation about what is unacceptable conduct, but not in a haphazard fashion," said Joe Dear, executive director, in a news release.
Laura McNamara, Putnam spokeswoman, said: "We're disappointed about the decision of the Washington State Investment Board, but we hope we will have the opportunity to manage investments again for them in the future."
The board, which oversees $40 billion in retirement plan assets, will conduct an expedited search for a replacement, which could be picked as early as January. Callan is consultant.
Separately, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Dallas, terminated Putnam, which ran $246 million in active international equities for the $2.8 billion pension plan, said a company official. He would not provide further information. Stephen J. Wagenbach, managing director at CRA RogersCasey, the plan's consultant, would not comment.
Also, Lansing (Mich.) Employees Retirement System terminated Putnam, which ran $9 million in active international equities, said Jill Rhode, deputy finance director. The $166 million pension plan made the move in response to trading abuse allegations as well as other recent terminations by many Putnam clients, Ms. Rhode said. The money was parked in a portfolio managed by INVESCO, the fund's other international equity manager, raising it to $18 million, she said. Asset Consulting Group assisted. Ms. McNamara did not return a call seeking comment by press time.