NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds have lost €166m to the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff, Wouter Bos, the Dutch finance minister has claimed.

The entire loss to Dutch investors, caused by investments in Madoff Investment Securities, is approximately €1.9bn, Bos stated in a letter to parliament.

Officials at the large metal pension funds PME and PMT have acknowledged their schemes had incurred losses from the Madoff fraud, but stressed these losses were not significant enough to affect their cover ratio.

And Shell had earlier declared that its asset management operations, Shell Asset Management Company (Samco) was estimated to have lost over €32m through ist investments with Madoff.

The €68bn healthcare scheme PfZW has not been directly hit, but might be affected through investments in banks which have lost market value following the fraud, a spokesman explained.

And according to officials at ABP, the €173bn civil service scheme did not have any exposure to Madoff Investment Securities.

With a combined write-off of approximately €1.5bn, the banking sector was the worst hit and the new Fortis Bank Netherlands lost €922m, according to the minister, who based his figures on estimates from the supervisors De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and Authority Financial Markets (AFM).

Over a thousand private investors lost over €200m through investment firms and institutions, Bos said, though he noted insurers lost no more than €1m in total.

According to the minister, Luxembourg's financial supervisor is investigating the fiduciary role of investment funds which channelled asset to Madoff's feeder funds.

"European regulations for investment funds stipulate that fiduciary managers can be liable for losses, caused by investment funds which are falling short of their care duty," Bos pointed out.

If investigations indicate that financial institutions are culpable indeed, the minister will sharpen regulations on fiduciaries' duty of care, he said.

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