NETHERLANDS - The 40 largest pension funds in the Netherlands invested anti-cyclically during the height of the financial crisis and thereby contributed to financial stability, according to pensions supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

The DNB's analysis of equity investments over the period between October 2008 and March 2009 shows that the 40 largest schemes bought more than €1.8bn worth of equities on balance.

The regulator pointed out that this happened during the height of the credit crisis, when the MSCI World index had fallen by 28%.

The combined assets of the 40 pension funds, which make up 85% of the entire Dutch pension sector, was €490bn at the end of 2008, according to the DNB.

The watchdog said 24 pension funds bought equity on balance, while five schemes bought more equity than they needed to level their investment portfolios.

By contrast, 16 pension funds divested more equity on balance, with three even showing strong pro-cyclical behaviour.