NETHERLANDS – The returns of the most important investment funds of the top five Dutch providers have fallen short of their long-term benchmarks over the past five years, according to local newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad.

During the period 17 of the 23 largest funds failed to meet their benchmarks, but the situation improved last year, with 13 of 25 funds falling short of their targets.

Delta Lloyd, Fortis and ING were the worst performers while ABN Amro and Robeco had improved over last year following changes to their investment policies, it reported. Delta Lloyd fell most short of its goals, with relative losses of between 0.84% and 11.45%.

Robeco and ABN Amro achieved the highest yields, with all five of Robeco’s flagship funds exceeding the benchmarks by between 0.06% and 8.25% and only one ABN Amro fund underperforming, it said.

The funds ascribed a preference for growth equity as the main reason for the disappointing results. “However, since the post-2000 crash it has been the value equity which has been performing relatively well,” the newspaper noted.

“Dutch asset managers on private and institutional markets have lost ground to foreign players, for example Fidelity and Barclays.”

Het Financieele Dagblad added: “The break in the market has certainly led to strategy changes at Robeco, ING and ABN,” and it quoted a Robeco spokesman as saying “As of 2004, we have changed from a communal approach to a policy under which the asset manager takes the decisions himself.”