PanAgora Asset Management is an excellent firm enjoying recent success, deservedly so. I would like to respond to the premise in Pension & Investments' Jan. 8 "Face to Face" interview with Eric Sorensen, titled King of quants, that this success reflects a greater emphasis on research.
A strong and recognized research program at PanAgora is not new. Substantial sales and distribution support from Putnam Investments beginning in 2005 was a significant change that helped fuel growth in assets, along with market appreciation.
PanAgora was formed by researchers and, by any measure, has been driven by research programs for its entire history. For many years, the firm's investment professionals have held senior positions and produced exceptional research and investment insights. A large number of these contributions have been published in several top journals, such as the Journal of Portfolio Management, and several have been recognized for their significance by some of the most influential people in the history of quantitative investment management.
Putnam Investments' decision to distribute PanAgora's high-performing and well-designed products was a direct reflection on the firm's robust and successful research effort. Certainly, more recent research has led to new clients for PanAgora. However, a meaningful portion of the initial growth referred to in your story is attributable to Putnam's distribution support of long-standing strategies, including eventual success with prospects PanAgora had been in discussions with for some time.
The vibrant research initiatives now under way at PanAgora point to a bright future for the company. PanAgora will continue to benefit from the intelligence and hard work of all current employees, as well as from the research legacy and business momentum created by their predecessors and colleagues at Putnam Investments.
William J. Poutsiaka
Editor's note: Mr. Poutsiaka is retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of PanAgora Asset Management.
(updated with correction)