NETHERLANDS - The Dutch financial group Aegon today announced its saw its assets under management (AuM) for the pension and asset management operation drop 8% in the first quarter of the year.

This decrease was because of negative currency effects and the market turbulences resulting in lower financial markets in the first quarter, said Aegon.

Aegon saw a drop of €30bn in its AuM since the end of the fourth quarter of 2007, with assets at the end of March amounting to €340bn.

According to the firm, its results were down only 3% on a constant currency basis.

Operating earnings before tax for the asset management division amounted €87m at the end of the first quarter, down from €146m in the same period last year.

Commenting on the company's resutls, Aegon's chairman of the executive board and chief executive, Alexander Wynaendts, argued the businessess continued to demonstrate strong underlying performance.

He acknowledged, however: "The downturn in financial markets and a weak US dollar resulted in Aegon reporting considerably lower operating earnings and net income for the first quarter."

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