The report by Putnam’s board of trustees also said several dozen company employees engaged in improper trading, far more than the company initially admitted to last autumn, the chairman of the board of trustees, John Hill, said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.
“There were three officials at Putnam who had knowledge of the market timing activities of the Putnam employees in 2000 and 2001 who we felt were in a position of responsibility that they should have informed the board,” Hill said.
He identified the three as former CEO Lawrence Lasser, former chief investment strategist Tim Ferguson, and general counsel William Woolverton, the only one to remain at Putnam.
However, Woolverton will soon lose his job when CEO Charles Haldeman picks a new chief counsel from a short list of candidates who have already spoken to the board.
Putnam, the No. 6 U.S. mutual fund company, was the first to be charged with securities fraud when regulators began probing the $7.5 trillion industry. While so-called market timing is not illegal, many companies, including Putnam, forbid the practice of quick-paced buying and selling of mutual fund shares because it is seen to hurt long-term investors.
In the 31-page report, the trustees wrote that they had found no evidence that Putnam executives entered into agreements to permit or facilitate late trading, which is illegal, and no evidence of arrangements to accommodate market timing or excess short-term trading.
Still, about 40 employees engaged in market timing, Hill said, speaking about the report. Recently Putnam fired 15 employees, including six fund managers who were market timing in the funds they were managing.