EUROPE - Dutch pensions assets are highest of all EU countries relative to the nation's gross domestic product as the amount invested totals 176% of GDP, according to a study.

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Dutch workers had built up a total of €941bn of pensions assets through pension funds and life insurers at the end of 2006.

At some distance, Denmark comes second with pension assets totalling 102% of GDP while the European average is 55% of GDP, the CBS found.

Eastern European countries lag far behind, with pension provisions in countries like Lithuania, Latvia and Romania consisting of no more than 2% of GDP, it said.

The Dutch pensions system is based on three pillars: the (pay-as-you-go) state pension AOW, collective work-related pensions and individual pension plans, the latter two of which are managed by pension funds and insurers respectively.

Total assets, driven mainly through the rising value of collective schemes, have increased almost 250% during the past 10 years, Statistics Netherlands said.

Although pension provisions in all EU countries has increased during this period, the rise was the steepest in the Netherlands, CBS added.

Assets in Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and France have also increased above average.

That said, the position of European countries could be somewhat different if investments in the UK, Ireland and Luxembourg were taken into account, a CBS spokesman explained to IPE, as these countries have yet to submit their data to the EU statistics institute Eurostat.

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