NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds returned 6.4% over the first six months of the year, according to State Street Investment Analytics.

Results for the WM Universe Dutch Pension Fund showed Dutch schemes' equity returns in the first half were relatively modest (2.8%) when compared with the MSCI World index's 5.9% return over the same period.

Fixed income investments, however, faired much better, with a weighted average return of 12.8%. State Street cited a very wide range of fixed income returns in the first half, partly reflecting the "turmoil in European bond markets" and the "extent of swap usage".

Property returns were also modest (2.3%), while the Universe's other investments - chiefly alternative strategies - lost 3.1%.

With respect to asset allocation, Dutch funds held more of their assets in fixed income at the end of June - 55.2% of total assets, compared with 50.6% at the end of last year.

Allocations to equities, property and other investments all fell over the same period, it said.

State Street also highlighted the impact of falling interest rates on coverage ratios, borne out yesterday by the third-quarter results of several of the country's largest schemes.

At the end of June, the average coverage ratio of funds in the Universe was 101.75%, down from 111.04% at the start of the year.

Nearly 100 pension funds - collectively valued at €219bn - participated in the WM Universe as at June.