The effort to turn Putnam Investments around continues, with the mutual fund provider’s latest effort to draw advisors’ attention. Today Putnam announced the launch of a new website for advisors, featuring an upgrade to its FundVisualizer tool, practice management and thought leadership content, access to Putnam’s social media conversations, and an idea of what other FAs are viewing on the site.
The new FundVisualizer can create entire investment portfolios using over 11,000 mutual funds and ETFs, the company said. I gave it a spin myself. You can type in the tickers of the funds along with weightings you want for each portfolio. Then, the tool will create a chart comparing the two portfolios against a benchmark of your choosing. It’ll compare standard deviation, Sharpe Ratio, performance and information ratio. And just like the original version of the tool, you don’t just have to use Putnam funds in your comparison.
There are some other asset managers who have already or plan to roll out similar fund comparison tools, including T. Rowe Price, Highland Funds, and iShares, but I’m not sure if any others have portfolio modeling. Perhaps Putnam is ahead of the pack on this, but of course most advisors already have access to such tools, such as through Morningstar, their broker/dealers or custodians.
That doesn’t mean Putnam can’t woo advisors with such mousetraps, and get some traffic to its website in the hope that FAs will invest with the company. It’s not a bad strategy: “Our goal is to be a must-stop destination for the advisor community,” said Bill Connolly, head of global distribution, Putnam.
Competition in the mutual fund and ETF space is fierce, especially in the current environment, and if other asset managers don’t step it up with the tools and services they offer on their websites, large players that do have the resources for that are going to dominate the market.