Putnam Voyager mutual fund takes its last journey

The $3.2 billion fund, launched in 1969, will be merged into smaller large-cap growth fund

May 12, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

By John Waggoner

A fund from the go-go era will soon be gone-gone.

The $3.2 billion Putnam Voyager (PVOYX) fund will be merged into the $610 million Putnam Growth Opportunities (POGAX) in July, the company says. Both funds are currently managed by Robert Brookby, who will continue to run Growth Opportunities.

The fund was launched in April 1969 during the tail end of the 1960s bull market amid the public's fascination with growth stocks. Fund managers like Gerald Tsai of Fidelity and, later, the Manhattan fund, were superstars. Dubbed the “Go-Go Years” by author John Brooks, the 1960s celebrity manager era ended with a bone-crushing bear market. One fund manager, Fred Mates, later wound up managing a singles bar.

Nevertheless, Voyager sailed on, and thrived in the 1980s and early 1990s under the helm of Matthew Weatherbie, who drove the fund to a 14.85% average annual gain during his tenure, vs. 13.73% for the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index with dividends reinvested, according to Morningstar. At its peak in 2000, the fund weighed in at $46 billion.

The fund has lagged the past five years, gaining 4.83% through April, vs. 11.02% for the S&P 500. Morningstar analyst Alex Lucas labeled its risk-adjusted performance under previous manager Nick Thakore “dismal.” David Snowball, editor of The Mutual Fund Observer, summed up the fund's performance this way in his monthly commentary: “In the past six years, he mixed one brilliant year with two dismal ones and three pretty bad ones.”

In contrast, Growth Opportunities has gained an average 9.7% during the same period under Mr. Brookby's management. (He has run Growth Opportunities since January 2009.)

The merger with Growth Opportunities will take place in July, and Voyager's record will disappear with it. The combined fund will have about $3.9 billion in assets.

Putnam Voyager isn't the only big growth fund that's taking that long voyage home. The $2.8 billion Franklin Flex Cap Growth (FKCGX) will be merged Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund (FGRAX) in August. And CGM Advisor Targeted Equity Fund, which started in 1968 as New England Growth fund, shut its doors in February. The fund, run by Kenneth Heebner for most of its life, shrank from $1.02 billion to $363 million in assets.


What do you think?

View comments

Most watched


Schwab's Jeff Kleintop: Prep for volatility given China trade uncertainties

China could be considered a developed market in five to seven years , according to Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist, Charles Schwab.


Young advisers envision a radically different business in five years

Fintech and sustainable investing are two factors being watched closely by some of the 2019 class of InvestmentNews' 40 Under 40.

Latest news & opinion

Funding for Reg BI, other SEC advice reform efforts denied in Waters amendment

House likely to approve measure that effectively kills rule package, but it faces uphill battle in Senate

Wall Street lashes out at Sanders' plan to pay off student debt with a securities trading tax

Financial pros argue that a transaction levy will hurt mom-and-pop investors along with investment houses.

GPB paid B-Ds and reps steep commissions to sell troubled private placements

GPB paid commissions of 9.3%, or $167 million altogether, on the firm's private placements.

Give us a break, active managers say

Seven portfolio managers share their outlooks for the rest of the year, generally agreeing that it's been hard for active managers to stand out.

GPB Capital reports decline in value of two biggest funds

One has dropped by 25.4% and the other by 39%, according to the company.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print