Absolute Return

Modern strategies pursuing positive returns with lower volatility

Absolute return funds use specialized tools that seek to reduce specific risks.

Advantages of absolute return investing

  • Committed to more consistent results
  • Diversified across multiple investments
  • A philosophy of low volatility

This fund received a Overall Morningstar Rating out of 270 funds in the Nontraditional Bond category as of 06/30/19

This fund received a Overall Morningstar Rating out of 265 funds in the Multialternative category as of 06/30/19

Putnam Fixed Income Absolute Return Fund is managed by members of Putnam's Fixed Income team.


years experience working together at Putnam


years average investment experience

D. William Kohli
CIO, Fixed Income | Industry since 1988

Paul D. Scanlon, CFA
Co-Head of Fixed Income | Industry since 1986

Michael V. Salm
Co-Head of Fixed Income | Industry since 1989

Albert Chan, CFA
Portfolio Manager | Industry since 2002

Two benefits of absolute return strategies

Putnam Absolute Return Funds have highly flexible strategies with modern tools that seek to hedge risk. They can help improve diversification and reduce volatility in traditional portfolios.

Improve diversification

The funds can provide a differentiated return stream, one that is unlike the performance of traditional stock and bond funds.

They are independent from traditional benchmarks and can pursue strategies that are not aligned with the direction of the stock or bond markets.

Reduce volatility

Absolute return funds can seek to mitigate specific types of risk, such as market volatility or interest-rate movements.

They have more flexibility than more traditional funds to use a variety of tools, including derivatives, to establish portfolio positioning and hedging strategies.

Resources to help you talk about absolute return investing

Traditional investing means a rollercoaster of highs and lows

This graphic highlights the volatility of traditional asset classes and the impact on investors. Markets can go in any direction at any time. Investors in traditional funds focused on stocks or bonds need to be able to stomach volatility.

Institutions embrace responsible investing
See historical market volatility
Alternatives in action: A guide to strategies for portfolio diversification

This study analyzes the performance of different types of alternative strategies in distinct economic environments from 1994 to 2013, and includes:

  • Classification of alternatives by investment objective
  • Comparison of alternatives' long-term returns and risk
  • Performance in different economic scenarios
  • Analysis of returns and risk-adjusted returns
  • Insights about performance characteristics
  • Observations for portfolio strategies
Download the paper (PDF)