NETHERLANDS – NIB Capital, the bank owned by the two largest Dutch pension schemes, is to wind down its 50-50 derivatives joint venture with Petercam following “continued substantial trading losses”.

“In the context of our previously reported evaluation of NIB Capital’s strategic options, we have decided, in consultation with fellow shareholder Petercam NV, to wind down the activities of NPD over time,” NIB Capital said in a release.

Last week NIB, co-owned by civil service fund Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP and health care fund PGGM, declined to comment to IPE on a newspaper report that the four-year-old Belgian joint venture had lost €20-30m in options trading.

NIB said the decision to pull the plug on the derivatives venture meant a 13% sequential decline in quarterly net profit.

Net profit in the first quarter fell to €52m from €60m in the final quarter of 2004, although it rose 37% compared to a year ago.

“Our core business performed well in the first quarter of 2005, with income up in all business areas on a year-on-year basis,” said managing board chairman Michael Enthoven.

But he declined to make a forecast for the whole of 2005 – citing “the significant deterioration in market conditions since April”.

NIB added that Harcourt, the Swiss hedge fund manager in which it has a majority stake, saw its assets rise to €1.9bn. Harcourt’s customers include the Novartis Pension Fund, Raiffeisen Pension Fund and the City of Zurich Pension Fund.

Total assets under management at NIB rose to €5.4bn. The number of employees at its investment management arm has risen to 86, from 49 a year ago.