NETHERLANDS - Turbulence in international markets last year took its toll on KAS Bank, the Netherlands-based specialist bank which is pursuing a strategy of pan-European provision of custody and securities services.

The bank saw income fall in both these business areas in the year to 31 December 2001. Income from custody services fell 11% from €24m to €21.2m and income from securities settlement services and securities lending fell by 3% from €37.7m to €36.6m. In both areas, the steepest falls occurred in the second half.

However, the volume of international custody business increased. Assets under custody increased from €213bn to €220bn, thanks to new clients and existing relationships. This was in spite of a fall in global stock prices which reduced first half volumes to €211bn, compared with €225bn in the same period in 2000.

The number of settlements also increased by over 40%. This volume growth was largely in lower fixed, entirely automated trades. Overall, commission income from securities settlement services fell by 2% , largely due to lower order routing by private clients.

KAS Bank’s overall pre-tax profits rose by 3% from €29.4m to €30.2m. However, this was principally as a result of non-recurring items, notably the sale of KAS Bank’s shares in Liffe and Euronext, which contributed €6.5m to profits.

The bank said its strategy remains on course. It said it expects a constant operating result this year, provided that market conditions remain unchanged. It maintains “positive expectations” about long term growth as a result of its European strategy.