Putnam Investments has launched a new version of its Web site to beef up resources for financial advisors. The new Putnam.com includes a leap forward in its portfolio modeling tools and a new focus on social media and content sharing-a nonproprietary service free to all advisors, not just those working with Putnam funds.

"The site is a rewrite from the ground up," says Paul O'Connell, Putnam's director of Web strategy.

The new site, says O'Connell, is meant to reflect the way many people use the Web now rather than serve as a simple accounts and transactions portal. It features a feed where peers on the site can share favorite stories and follow Putnam on Twitter or Facebook, or rate content on the site such as portfolio managers' comments. Users can customize these news feeds so that topics important to them appear on a carousel of skyboxes notifying them about new material on 529 plans, Roth IRA conversions, annuities, etc. The site has also created a "tag cloud," which is what it sounds like-an animation with favorite topics flying through the air that you can grab at your leisure.

Putnam has also beefed up its FundVisualizer tool, which it launched earlier this year. The tool allows users to create visual, side-by-side comparisons of funds from a universe of 11,000 products. The latest version allows advisors to compare entire bundles of products in a portfolio using Morningstar data. So if you want to compare one set of 12 funds, including one with everything from a small-cap fund to a gold ETF index, next to another portfolio with a completely different set of funds, you can, without the funds having to be Putnam Funds. And the scroll bars allow you to see how these funds and portfolios would have performed over different periods. The tool allows advisors to compare some 60 different criteria, such as costs and risk/reward characteristics of the funds and portfolios. These portfolios can also be saved for future use.

Brian Kelley, the managing director of Putnam Retail Management, says that the firm is offering these features to all advisors in part because he thinks Putnam's performance will stand on its own in such comparisons. (Only Putnam products are available for investment on the site.)

The new site also includes a client planning section that addresses retirement, college and other life goals; an "Our Perspectives" section with articles and videos from Putnam about events such as the Japan earthquake and the S&P downgrade of the U.S.; and a live chat window with Putnam's support team. A "My Putnam" feature allows advisors to store their favorite reports and articles.

Much of the content can also be accessed through mobile devices, including IPads. This does not include dynamic items like FundVisualizer, though the tool is a work in progress and the firm is looking at creating apps.

Kelley says that the emphasis on social media stems from a couple of factors-one is that Robert Reynolds, Putnam's president since 2008, has a particular interest in technology. The other is that social media has become more acceptable to financial services companies. Morgan Stanley, notably, allowed some of its advisors to use social media in a limited capacity earlier this year, and Kelley says that a Tiffany name like that one giving its blessing will open floodgates for more social media use among advisors.

Putnam mostly focuses on advisors in the wirehouses, bank brokerage firms and the B-D channel, though it also has RIA clientele and two years ago built a group dedicated to RIAs. Putnam had about $122 billion in assets under management at the end of August, about half in mutual funds and the other half institutional.

-Eric Rasmussen