U.S. Low Volatility Equity

The strategy seeks better risk-adjusted performance than the Russell 1000 Index over a full market cycle by combining sector-neutral low-beta stock selection and an options overlay focused on managing risk and reshaping the distribution of equity returns.*

Strategy highlights

Inception date

September 30, 2010


Russell 1000 Index
S&P 500 Index

Total strategy assets


(as of December 2019)

Investment vehicles

  • Separate account
  • Focus on pursuing strong risk-adjusted performance and controlling downside risk through innovative security selection (sector-neutral low beta), progressive risk management (options strategies, and flexibility)
  • A continuation of the Global Asset Allocation team's pursuit of superior risk-adjusted returns with limited downside risk
  • A disciplined process that uses sector-neutral low-beta stock selection and option strategies
  • A veteran management team that has been managing equity portfolios since 2004
  • A composite track record starting in 2010

Investing in options may lead to significant losses caused by market moves in the underlying security or index. Options trading is extremely risky, is not suitable for everyone and substantial losses may occur.

*No assurance can be given that the investment objective will be achieved or that an investor will receive a return of all or part of his or her initial investment. Actual results could be materially different from the stated goals. Investors should carefully consider the risks involved before deciding to invest. See the composite report for a summary of risk considerations. As with any investment, there is a potential for profit as well as the possibility of loss.

Assets may include accounts that are not reflected in the composite.

Investment team


Annualized composite performance (%) as of December 31, 2019

  MTD QTD 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years Since Inception
U.S. Low Volatility Equity (gross) 1.75% 4.25% 18.60% 9.62% 6.47% 9.57%
U.S. Low Volatility Equity (net) 1.69% 4.09% 17.86% 8.94% 5.81% 8.86%
Russell 1000 Index 2.89% 9.04% 31.43% 15.05% 11.48% 14.18%
S&P 500 Index 3.02% 9.07% 31.49% 15.27% 11.70% 14.26%

Calendar-year composite performance (%) as of December 31, 2019

  2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
U.S. Low Volatility Equity (gross) 18.60% -2.86% 14.35% 5.88% -1.89% 10.46% 19.18% 9.64% 10.31% --
U.S. Low Volatility Equity (net) 17.86% -3.47% 13.64% 5.22% -2.50% 9.76% 18.43% 8.87% 9.54% --
Russell 1000 Index 31.43% -4.78% 21.69% 12.05% 0.92% 13.24% 33.11% 16.42% 1.50% --
S&P 500 Index 31.49% -4.38% 21.83% 11.96% 1.38% 13.69% 32.39% 16.00% 2.11% --

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. An investment in this strategy could lose value. Most recent month-end performance is preliminary. Returns are subject to change. Please refer to the composite report and disclosures below for additional important information regarding performance disclosures and investments risks.

Periods less than one year are not annualized. Performance is stated in U.S. dollars. and includes the reinvestment of dividends and interest.


Related topics

Putnam Equity Outlook

Important disclosures

The Putnam Investments U.S. Low Volatility Equity Composite (the "Composite") is an equity strategy combined with an option overlay. The objective is to match the return of the Russell 1000 Index over a full market cycle with considerably lower volatility. It takes little sector risk and no out-of-benchmark positions, and stays fully equitized. The stocks in the equity portfolio are selected by the portfolio manager based on screens for risk and fundamental characteristics. The stocks generally have low-beta and low-volatility metrics. The option strategy involves selling out-of-money short-term calls and buying out-of-the money long-term puts. The option overlay seeks to significantly dampen the volatility of the portfolio and improve its risk-adjusted return. The Composite includes all fully discretionary accounts managed by Putnam in this style, including carve-out assets. The Composite has a secondary benchmark, the S&P 500 Index, for comparative purposes. Although accounts in the Composite pursue the same investment strategy, they may have different benchmarks.  The Composite creation date was August 17, 2011.

The Russell 1000® Index includes the 1000 largest securities in the Russell 3000 Index.

The S&P 500 Index covers 500 industrial, utility, transportation, and financial companies of the US markets (mostly NYSE issues). The index represents about 75% of NYSE market capitalization and 30% of NYSE issues. It is a capitalization-weighted index calculated with dividends reinvested.

Composites may include portfolios with certain existing investment restrictions that the Firm believes do not materially impact the investment strategy. Benchmarks are generally taken from published sources and may have different calculation methodologies, pricing times, and/or foreign-exchange sources from the composite. The effect of those differences is generally deemed to be immaterial. The securities holdings of the Composite may differ materially from those of the index used for comparative purposes. Composites and benchmarks include the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. Indexes are unmanaged and do not incur expenses. You cannot invest directly in an index. Gross-of-fee returns do not include the deduction of management fees and other expenses that may be incurred in managing an investment account. A portfolio's return will be reduced by advisory and other fees. Net-of-fee returns are calculated using a model fee. For the applicable time periods, net-of-fees returns reflect either the deduction of the highest management fee that is paid by a portfolio in the Composite during the performance period, applied on a monthly basis, or the deduction of the highest applicable management fee in effect during the performance period that would be charged based on the fee schedule appropriate to this mandate, without the benefit of breakpoints, applied on a monthly basis, whichever is higher. Net-of-fee calculation methodology may change over time. Actual investment advisory fees incurred by clients are typically negotiated on an individual basis and may vary depending upon, among other things, the applicable fee schedule and portfolio size. Our standard fee schedules are available upon request.