EUROPE – Dutch banking group ING’s pension fund assets in Central Europe have risen by more than 32% to almost €7bn.

“Pension fund assets in Central Europe increased 32.6% to €6.8bn at the end of September, driven by strong growth in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic,” ING said in its nine-month earnings statement today.

It added that sales in Central Europe were driven by life and pension sales in Hungary and Romania as well as the launch of a new pension fund in Slovakia.

And assets under management at ING Investment Management were up 15.9% to €200.9bn. The division’s assets under management in Europe rose 12.2% to €83.6 billion, with €650m in net inflows.

Asia/Pacific rose 23% to €49.4bn - including a €2.7bn net inflow.

It said: “Funds were boosted by the joint venture China Merchants Fund Management, which attracted net inflows of €1.6bn into the China Merchants Cash Enhancement Fund.”

AUM in the Americas were up 15.7% at €67.9bn – although there was a €2.5bn outflow “due to the maturing of balanced portfolios with a guaranteed rate that are not popular anymore”.

ING Real Estate’s total portfolio rose 27.7% to €64bn from €50.1bn at the end of 2004 – driven by inflows and acquisitions.

Overall, ING Group’s net profit rose 23.5% to €5.37bn.