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Merck Drops Putnam

Nov 19, 2003 | AP Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. on Tuesday became the latest company to drop Putnam Investments funds from its 401(k) plan, citing concerns about alleged improper trading practices.

Merck notified savings-plan employees Monday that, effective Nov. 20, the company would cease to offer the Putnam International Capital Opportunities Fund and the Putnam Global Equity Fund.

“Merck is extremely concerned about the possibility of wrongdoing by any mutual-fund company that manages Merck savings-plan assets and we’ve been closely monitoring the situation,” said Tony Plohoros, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical company.

Laura McNamara, a spokeswoman for Putnam, said the company is “extremely disappointed by the decision and hope that, in the future, we’ll have the opportunity to manage investments for them again.”

Putnam Investments, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos., on Oct. 28 became the first firm to be formally charged in the widening mutual-fund probe.

Since then, state pension funds, individual investors and corporations have been pulling money out of the fund firm.

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