NETHERLANDS - The combined pension assets of Dutch pension funds and life insurers dropped 10% during the first three quarters of 2008, Statistics Netherlands has revealed.

Pension assets dropped by €94bn to €850bn by the end of September 2008, the organisation - also known as CBS - said in a study looking at the financial effects of the credit crisis on households.

Following this initial assessment, the financial position of life insurers and pension schemes then became "much worse" during the last quarter of 2008 as a result of a steep drop in equity markets in October, said Michiel Vergeer, economist at the CBS.

At this stage, however, CBS does not have concrete figures available about the fourth quarter, Vergeer indicated.

"Never before have households lost so much money following a drop in the markets as they did in 2008," CBS officials argued.

Households lost both directly on privately-held equity and fixed income investments, as well as indirectly through pension funds' investments, the body suggested.

Households saw the value of their equity investments drop by €43bn during the first nine months, the CBS claimed.

Statistics Netherlands has further calculated the combined financial assets of Dutch pension funds and insurers decreased by €30bn to €1042bn during the third quarter.

This decrease was almost entirely caused by the falling equity markets, officials stated.

A spokesman of pension regulator De Nederlandsche Bank confirmed official figures for fourth quarter pension will not be available before mid March.

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