NETHERLANDS – Dutch investment institutions generated combined returns of 3.8% over the first quarter, due mainly to rising equity markets, according to figures from the country's financial regulator (DNB).

The total value of equity holdings increased by 7.7% during the first three months of the year, while the DNB's benchmark, the MSCI World Index, increased by 10%.

The DNB said Dutch investors incurred an average 1.4% loss on holdings in government bonds, consisting mainly of government paper from euro-zone countries.

It also noted that the loss was largely in line with the iBoxx Euro Sovereign All Maturities index, which fell by 0.5% over the period. Rising credit markets, meanwhile, returned 1.1%.

The combined holdings of Dutch investment institutions increased by 4.5% to €581bn, due mainly to the increasing value of equity portfolios.

According to the DNB, the net investments of €3.8bn were almost entirely thanks to institutional investors, with more than €2.3bn being poured into emerging market equity funds.

Hedge funds, mixed funds and other funds reported net investment of €500m, €200m and €1.7bn, respectively.

However, investors pulled €600m and €500m from property funds and fixed income funds, respectively, over the period, the DNB said.