NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds are raising exposure to private equity, according to a study by national regulator, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

In the last quarter of 2006, the 25 largest Dutch pension schemes, surveyed by the DNB, increased their investments in unlisted shares by €4bn.

Also in the first three quarters of last year investments in private equity grew steadily, according to the regulator's statistical bulletin published on its website today.

The DNB noted that the growth is in line with the policies of several Dutch pension funds, including ABP and PGGM, who announced earlier this year they want to increase investment in private equity.

Dutch pension funds' total investments in negotiable securities  increased by €19bn in the fourth quarter of 2006, reaching a total of €599bn. Both listed and unlisted shares, fund units and debt certificates also saw a rise.

In the fourth quarter, pension funds booked returns of €11bn from portfolios of listed equity and another €6bn booked with participation certificates.