Putnam Investments has a heritage that dates back to the 1830's. That's quite a history, even when compared to the other mutual fund giants reviewed. Putnam mutual funds also reflect the balance you'd expect with such a long investment history. They produce an excellent mix of both stock and bond funds.
It's possible to purchase Putnam funds through Putnam Investments, which serves both the institutional and individual investor. An interesting part of the company's history dates back to 1830, when Supreme Court Justice Samuel Putnam helped to establish the legal foundation around which the professional money management services industry exists.
In 1937, George Putnam founded the George Putnam Fund of Boston, which claims to be one of the first funds to offer investors a balance of stock and bonds in their portfolio. Today, that company has grown to manage over $77 billion in assets and over five million shareholder accounts (October 2019).
Putnam offers investors a wide range of services including over 80 different mutual funds, Roth and Traditional IRAs, professional management of over 900 different 401(k) plans and 529 college savings plans. The company boasts nearly 3,600 employees with offices in Boston, London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, and Beijing.
Morningstar ratings indicate the expense ratio for domestic stock funds (1.27%), international stocks (1.51%), municipal bond funds (0.95%), and taxable bonds (0.99%) are Average. Putnam shows a relatively balanced mix of stock and bond funds, with around 39% of assets in stocks and 39% in bonds; the remainder being invested in money market assets.
Putnam does not have a minimum investment; it's advertised as $0, which would be the lowest of the families reviewed. Unfortunately, only around 39% of the Putnam funds are no-load mutual funds. Typical front-loads are in the 5.25% range. As of October 2019, the average return on a Putnam fund was 4.95% over the last five years.
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