NETHERLANDS – The combined investments of Dutch pension funds in the euro-zone have increased by €12bn to €232bn during the third quarter of 2012, according to figures from supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

The DNB said the largest increase in schemes' euro-zone exposure was seen in France and, to a lesser extent, Germany.

Investments in the former increased by €6.5bn to €76bn, while holdings in the latter increased by almost €2bn to €91bn.

The Dutch regulator said pension funds for the most part increased bond portfolios, but they also divested some holdings to take profits.

Investments in French government paper increased by approximately 5%, due to market rises, it said.

According to the DNB, holdings of German government bonds remained virtually unchanged, with market rises and divestments cancelling each other out.

The supervisor also noted that pension funds largely divested their holdings in Spanish government paper.

The DNB added that pension funds' investments in the US increased by €9bn, primarily due to investments in equities and credit, financed in part through divestments of euro-denominated bonds.

The regulator's statistics showed that pension funds' holdings in Greece remained at €90m, while investments in Italy and Spain increased slightly to €15.5bn and €8.9bn, respectively, during the third quarter.