NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds invested €51bn in foreign bonds and equities last year, says Statistics Netherlands CBS in a provisional report.

The schemes own a combined €388bn in foreign bonds and equities, 72% of their total investments.

The schemes bought more than €25bn in equities abroad, almost entirely in non-euro countries. This brought the total amount of foreign equities to €216bn. The increase is mainly due to a seven percent market rise.

The amount of foreign bonds rose by €26bn to almost €173bn. The amount of domestic bonds however decreased by €3bn. The funds had owned a total of €205bn in bonds at the end of 2004.

According to the statistics office, the combined assets of Dutch pension funds and insurers grew by €82bn to €865bn.

Meanwhile, WM Performance Services has said commodities were the top performing asset class for Dutch pension funds in 2004.

According to WM, which covered 122 Dutch schemes with assets totalling €180bn in its ‘Universe’, the return on commodities was 13.3%. Hedge funds only yielded 2.1%.