NETHERLANDS - Dutch financial group ING today announced its investment management arm has posted a €3.6bn reduction in assets under management for the fourth quarter of 2007.

ING Investment Management Europe was worst hit, with a decrease of €3bn to €153bn in the last quarter of the year.

Presenting its fourth quarter results in London today, the group said the decrease over the quarter was because of negative currency effects and declining asset prices of equity and fixed-income securities.

"Declining prices of equity and fixed income securities had a negative impact of €6.6bn," said the group.

ING added the acquisition of the pension business in Latin America and ING Direct's purchase of ShareBuilder added €9.6bn to assets under management.

According to its report, the fund management business, which is split up in the regions Europe, America and Asia, has asset under management of €383.6bn at the end of last year, versus the €387.2bn posted in the quarter before.

Profits for ING Investment Management were €39m in the quarter, a drop of 11.4% compared to the third quarter.

"As the economic uncertainty and market volatility have increased, the operating environment has become more challenging," said Michel Tiltman, ING's chairman.

"Lower equity markets and revaluations of real estate and private equity have increased volatility in underlying earnings. ING continued to deliver strong commercial growth, as the fundamentals of our business are solid."

The group also announced the direct impact of the credit crisis was €194m in pre-tax "impairments, markdowns and trading losses", which amounted to €47m on subprime RMBS, €36m on CDOs, €45m on investments in SIVs and ABCP, and €66m from monoline insurers - firms who insure municipal bonds.

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