NETHERLANDS – Robeco, the asset management arm of Dutch bank Rabobank, had a €3bn outflow of institutional assets in 2005.

“Institutional activities generated a disappointing cash flow with an outflow of €3bn, largely due to the departure of a New York team responsible for investments in low-yielding municipal bonds,” the firm said.

The Rotterdam-based group said its total assets under management rose 18.5%, or €20.5bn – with €13bn coming from market performance, €5.8bn from the stronger dollar and just €1.7bn from client inflow. There was a net retail inflow of €4.7bn.

Robeco’s operating profit rose 48% to €233.6m in 2005. It said: “The positive developments in the stock markets in 2005 and the improving dollar rate have had a favourable effect on operating income.”

Institutional investors account for €65.4bn of the total assets under management of €131.6bn. Retail accounts for €66.2bn.

The firm said structured or capital-protected products would remain in high demand in 2006, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Cash inflow from clients over the first two months of 2006 amounted to approximately €1.6bn.

Robeco added it plans to start activities in “certain promising emerging markets”.

“By moving into emerging markets at this juncture we can create a strategic competitive edge in the medium to long term.”