Putnam Mutual Funds

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.

Putnam Family of 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 $64 billion in assets and over five million shareholder accounts (August 2016).

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.

Fee Structures and Returns

Morningstar ratings indicate the expense ratio for domestic stock funds (1.30%), international stocks (1.50%), municipal bond funds (1.01%), and taxable bonds (1.05%) are Average.  Putnam shows a relatively balanced mix of stock and bond funds, with around 48% of assets in stocks and 30% 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 25.0% of the Putnam funds are no-load mutual funds.  Typical front-loads are in the 5.25% range.  As of August 2016, the average return on a Putnam fund was 6.24% over the last five years.

Top Rated Putnam Mutual Funds

When we looked at the top rated Putnam mutual funds, we saw things that we liked and some things that we didn't like.  On the positive side, the annual returns over the last five years for all these funds beat the S&P 500 index or their fund category.  On the downside, all three of the funds have a load of 5.75%.  Taking all that into consideration, here is a list of the top performing mutual funds from Putnam as of August 2016:

Putnam Dynamic Asset Allocation Growth Fund A (PAEAX)

  • Assets:  $2.3 billion
  • Category:  Large Blend
  • Specialty:  None
  • Top Three Holdings: Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., and FNMA.
  • Load:  5.75% (front load)
  • Minimum Investment:  $0
  • Expense Ratio:  1.61%
  • 5-Year Average Return:  6.91%

Putnam Dynamic Asset Allocation Conservative Fund A (PACAX)

  • Assets:  $940 million
  • Category:  Large Value
  • Specialty:  None
  • Top Three Holdings:  FNMA, Ginnie Mae Jumbos 3.5%, and Fannie Mae Single Family 3%.
  • Load:  5.75% (front load)
  • Minimum Investment:  $0 million
  • Expense Ratio:  1.02%
  • 5-Year Average Return:  5.03%

Putnam RetirementReady 2050 A (PRRJX)

  • Assets:  $37 million
  • Category:  Large Blend
  • Specialty:  Target Date 2050
  • Top Three Holdings:  Putnam Dynamic Asset Allocation Equity, Putnam Dynamic Asset Allocation Gr Y, and Putnam Absolute Return.
  • Load:  5.75% (front load)
  • Minimum Investment:  $0
  • Expense Ratio:  1.24%
  • 5-Year Average Return:  2.98%

About the Author - Putnam Mutual Funds (Last Reviewed on August 8, 2016)