NETHERLANDS - The four largest Dutch pension funds, with combined assets of €405bn, have attributed their modest second-quarters results - ranging between 0.4% and 0.8% - to increasingly turbulent markets.

Their coverage ratios remained almost unchanged, or even dropped slightly, due to a small decrease of long-term interest rates, according to their second-quarter reports.

The €102bn healthcare scheme PFZW, which saw its funding decrease to 110%, attributed its 0.4% return to the problems in Greece and uncertainty in the market.

It added that macroeconomic data had also been disappointing, "fuelling fears of a return to recession".

PFZW's equity holdings returned 0.7%, with real estate and infrastructure returning 2.1% and high-yield bonds 1.9%.

The scheme's 'interest rate and inflation risks' portfolio returned 2.1%, including positive contributions from corporate bonds and short-term government bonds of 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively.

However, its 6.7% commodities allocation fell by 7.7% due to falling oil prices.

Meanwhile, the €242bn civil service scheme ABP reported a quarterly return of 0.8% and a stable coverage ratio of 112%.

Its securities holdings fell by 0.3%, whereas its fixed income portfolio generated 1.8%, with government bonds, inflation-linked bonds and credits returning 1.4%, 1.6% and 2%, respectively.

The €38bn metal scheme PMT - the largest market sector pension fund - saw its funding rise to 102% on the back of a 0.7% return.

It said both equities and commodities had generated losses, and that its fixed income and property investments had returned 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively.

The industry-wide scheme for metalworking and mechanical engineering, which is still under-funded, said it might need two more years to reach the minimum required coverage ratio of 105%.

Lastly, PME, the pension fund for the metal and electro-technical engineering industry, said it returned 0.7% during the second quarter. However, its funding ratio fell by 1 percentage point to 98%.

Although it said its recovery was still on track, it conceded that ongoing turbulence in financial markets would hamper further improvement.

PME saw its assets increase to €23bn, largely due to the recent addition of the €716m Dutch pension fund of Siemens to the industry-wide scheme.