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Putnam’s Reynolds: Retirement Is Not Bad for Equities

People have longer term time horizons, providing an opportunity for them to continue to invest in equities

As a significant number of individual investors—baby boomers—enter retirement, many believe it could result in a negative wave for equities, as these investors pull their assets out of the stock market and enter the decumulation phase of their lives. Bob Reynolds, president and CEO of Boston-based Putnam Investments, is not concerned about it.

“I don’t see the big runoff in equities,” Reynolds said, to a room of about 800 advisors during Envestnet’s annual advisor summit in Chicago this morning.

The low interest rate environment has certainly hurt senior citizens in this country, he said. But many advisors are now telling their retiring clients that they should expect to live another 20 or 30 years beyond retirement. People have longer-term time horizons, providing an opportunity for them to continue to invest in equities.

“Retirement will create more investors,” because defined contribution is the retirement system of today, Reynolds said.

Defined contribution plans are contributory plans to a point, Reynolds said. But there are ways for investors near or in retirement to get exposure to equities without the volatility of traditional investing. Low volatility and absolute return strategies, in particular, can be good tools in retirement.

Retirement income strategies, however, are still in the first innings, he said.

“I don’t think anyone has truly figured it out.”

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