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Putnam Investments’ chief executive Lasser to leave

GLOBAL – Marsh & McLennan Companies has replaced Lawrence Lasser as chief executive of its Putnam Investments arm amid a regulatory investigation into the firm’s trading practices.

The probe has seen the Boston-based firm lose several clients including the state pension funds of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Iowa.

MMC named Charles Haldeman, Putnam’s senior managing director and co-head of investments, as the firm’s president and chief executive. The 55 year-old Haldeman will retain his investment responsibilities.

Steven Spiegel, senior managing director and chief of global distribution, has been appointed to the new role of vice chairman while former MMC chairman and chief executive A.J.C. Smith was named to the new post of chairman.

Lasser, 60, had been Putnam’s president and chief executive since 1986. He’d been a director of MMC since 1987.

On October 28 Putnam and two former managers were charged with improper short-term mutual fund trading.

"MMC and Putnam are committed to seeing that the interests of Putnam's clients and investors are well served," said MMC president and chief executive Jeffrey Greenberg. MMC is also the parent of consulting firm Mercer.

"We are taking actions today to address the issues that are confronting Putnam,” Greenberg said. “The kind of conduct that occurred has no place at Putnam.”

MMC also said that Barry Barbash, former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’ Division of Investment Management, would conduct an independent review of Putnam's policies and controls.

Stephen Cohen, the head of Putnam’s European business, was not immediately available for comment.

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