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.
â€œMerck is extremely concerned about the possibility of wrongdoing by any mutual-fund company that manages Merck savings-plan assets and weâ€™ve been closely monitoring the situation,â€� said Tony Plohoros, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical company.
Laura McNamara, a spokeswoman for Putnam, said the company is â€œextremely disappointed by the decision and hope that, in the future, weâ€™ll have the opportunity to manage investments for them again.â€�
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.