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Putnam committed to Europe as Cohen leaves

EUROPE – Putnam Investments says it remains committed to Europe despite the departure of its top European executive Stephen Cohen.

“Putnam remains committed to its European business,” said a spokeswoman, confirming that Cohen will be leaving at the end of the month to be replaced by Boston-based Jeff Peters. Peters is managing director of Putnam’s non-US institutional business.

The firm, as well as battling its own market-timing scandals in the past year, is suffering in the wake of a regulatory probe into its parent firm Marsh & McLennan Cos. Last week MMC said Putnam would cut around 100 jobs in a bid to “operate competitively”.

The Putnam spokeswoman said Cohen’s departure was not related to the MMC announcement. “This really is a little different,” she said. She said Cohen’s role had changed following a recent decision to consolidate its offshore and retails businesses under the US mutual fund business.

In March this year MMC said Putnam’s non-US operations might not be as profitable as its US business - although international head John Boneparth denied it was less profitable. He told IPE at the time: “Our non-US business is a wonderful story.”

Cohen told IPE in an interview last year that Putnam wanted to “build a significant European institutional business over time”.

Putnam named Cohen as head of its European business, replacing Thomas Reilly, in March 2003. He was previously head of institutional business at Zurich Scudder Investments in London.

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