NETHERLANDS – Dutch bank group Rabobank’s asset management division Robeco says market declines have reduced its assets under management by 16.6 billion euros as at the end of 2002.

“Market declines reduced assets under management by 16.6 billion euros,” Robeco said in a preliminary statement of its performance last year.

Provisional figures indicate that as at the end of the year the company had 98.4 billion euros under management, compared to 104.5 billion at the end of 2001. The figure takes into account net cash inflows of 2.4 billion euros, a 700 million euro dividend contribution and the contribution of acquisitions made during the year of 8.8 billion euros.

Assets at its flagship Robeco equity fund fell 29.5% to 6.2 billion euros. The fund’s 34.8% investment decline was offset, Robeco said, by a cash inflow of 610 million euros.

Robeco Asset Management is the 30th largest manager of European pension fund assets, with 14.7 million dollars (14.1 billion euros) of such assets under management.

As for alternative investments, Robeco reported a mixed year, with private equity negative and hedge funds positive. Its Amsterdam-listed Robeco Private Equity fund fell 28.1% in the year.

“Funds of hedge funds proved their worth in turbulent times,” Robeco said, noting that several of its hedge funds posted rises in the year. It added that it is to open an office in Frankfurt this month.