NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds received €4.9bn in dividends on their listed equity investments between April 2007 and March 2008, De Nederlandsche Bank has reported.

At the end of the first quarter this year, Dutch industry-wide pension funds and company schemes had combined assets of €741bn, which was a €12bn rise compared to the first quarter of 2007, but a drop of €20bn compared to the third quarter of last year, the pensions watchdog revealed.

According to the regulator, the pension schemes' combined direct equity assets were €195bn on average during this period and over 50% of the dividends were paid by European companies, largely based in the UK, but also from France, Germany and the Netherlands.

One-quarter of dividends were sourced with US and Canadian companies, while most of the remaining dividends originated from Asia and Asia Pacific, the regulator added.

And just a small proportion of the dividends came from investments in Africa and Latin America

Equity investments accounted for €351bn of schemes' assets by the end of the first quarter, while their combined allocations to fixed income were worth €249bn.

The schemes' combined investments in derivatives, loans, deposits/liquid assets and property were €25bn, €48.8bn, €37.2bn and €17.9bn respectively, according to DNB.

Compared to the last quarter of 2007, the pension funds equity and fixed income assets have decreased by €22bn and €12bn respectively.

On the other hand, their allocations to derivatives, loans and deposits/liquid assets have risen by €10bn, €17bn and €6bn respectively during the first quarter, DNB revealed.

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