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Mercer, Putnam revenues rise, says parent Marsh

GLOBAL – Marsh & McLennan says that revenues at its Mercer and Putnam subsidiaries rose by 17% and 18% in the fourth quarter.

Mercer’s revenues rose to 705 million dollars in the period, while operating income was up 12% at 85 million dollars.

“All of Mercer’s practices reported underlying revenue growth in 2003,” MMC said in a statement. Mercer’s largest practice, retirement services, increased revenues “modestly”.

“Mercer grew revenues in spite of a difficult consulting operating environment,” said chairman Jeffrey Greenberg.

“We successfully integrated Oliver Wyman with Mercer Management Consulting, adding important capabilities to our risk and strategy consulting services.

“We also made several other acquisitions to broaden our global retirement and benefits consulting business. As economies around the world continue to revive, a number of Mercer’s practices are showing improved growth, and we see continued demand worldwide for Mercer’s retirement and benefits services.

Putnam Investments’ revenues rose 18% and operating income increased to 139 million dollars. Institutional assets under management fell to 77 billion dollars at the end of December 2003, from 87 billion dollars a year before.

Total assets under management at Putnam, embroiled in the improper trading scandal which has seen top managers depart, were 240 billion dollars, down from 251 billion dollars at the end of 2002.

“Investment management is a growing business around the world, and we believe Putnam will be an important source of long-term growth for MMC,” Greenberg said.

“Using our financial strength, we continue to build our capabilities in each of our businesses through internal growth and acquisitions,” Greenberg added.

“We have confidence in the company’s prospects for continued growth.”

MMC’s total net income rose 21% to 378 million as revenues rose 15% to three billion dollars. It also said it made discretionary contributions to its pension plans of 300 million dollars in the fourth quarter.

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