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WM says Dutch pension funds return 10.7%

NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds returned an average of 10.7% last year, largely as a result of the recovery in the equity markets.

Figures from the WM Co.’s analysis of Dutch pension fund performance during 2003 show that equities returned 12.8% for the year.

Returns were buoyed up by renewed investor interest in information stocks, which showed a return of 24% for the year. The best performing equity class was emerging markets, which returned 28% over the year.

Robert Rijlaarsdam, general manager of the WM Co. in the Netherlands, commented: “During the year the equity markets recovered from the lows in March to achieve the highest universe return since 1999.”

In contrast, fixed income returned only 3.5% over the year. Bond yields fell earlier in the year because of worries about deflation, rising later with fears that accelerating economic growth would lead to a rise in inflation. International bonds, including corporate bonds and high yield bonds, showed a negative return of –3.3% , largely because of the depreciation of the US dollar.

Over a 10-year period, the 6.5% return on equities is equal to fixed income. Property showed a higher return of 10.5% for this period.

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