NETHERLANDS - Total liabilities of the Dutch pensions sector decreased by €14bn in 2007 thanks to the rise in interest rates, according to pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank.

At the end of last year, combined liabilities were €493bn, while total assets amounted to €793bn, the DNB reported.

The increase in buffers offered pension funds more leeway for indexation, the regulator indicated.

Compared to year-end, pension funds' combined equity and fixed income assets decreased by €23bn to €367bn and by €12bn to €257bn respectively, during the first quarter of 2008, the DNB added.

That said, the total of financial derivatives and loans rose by €11bn to €25.4bn and by €17bn to €50bn respectively in the same period. Deposits and other liquid assets increased by over €7bn to €40bn.

However, compared to the third quarter of 2007, funds' combined assets  dropped by €20bn.

Industry-wide pension funds's assets totalled €544bn while company scheme assets  accounted for €197bn at the end of the first quarter of 2008.