Putnam Investments and a Japanese counterpart have expanded their line of mutual funds aimed at Japanese investors with three new funds.

The funds, which Boston-based Putnam runs with Nissay Asset Management Co. of Tokyo, are a global equity fund, a European balanced fund, and a hedged short-term foreign bond fund.

Those funds, announced Dec. 10, join an income fund, which opened in July and has $455 million of assets under management.

Putnam and Nissay announced plans in October to manage, develop, and market yen-denominated mutual fund products under the Nissay/Putnam brand.

A full line of products from a variety of asset classes is expected to be available to Japanese investors by the end of 1999.

The funds are being sold through brokerage firms, banks, and life insurance companies (such as Nissay's parent company, Nippon Life Insurance Co., based in Osaka).

Japan's "big bang" legislation allows funds to be sold through banks and insurance companies as of Dec. 1.

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