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TOP 1000: European assets grow to €3.02trn

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EUROPE - Assets under management of the top 750 continental European pension funds, including those in Ireland and Iceland, and the top 250 in the UK, rose to €3.02trn in 2005 from the previous year's €2.63trn.

That's the findings of the latest edition of IPE's annual Top 1000 supplement.

Pension funds across Europe reported excellent returns for 2005, and the reason was the same in each market: booming equities. But while the motor was the same, the extent to which pension funds benefited often depended less on individual investment choices by the funds and more on the legal and regulatory framework within which they operate.

These, in turn, fall into two main types: responses by legislators and regulators to the market collapse in the early years of this decade, and so Nordic pension funds spent much of last year preparing for the implementation of some sort of traffic light system and their Dutch counterparts for the introduction of the FTK, and then there are the more traditional quantitative limitations imposed on various asset classes.

The former sent many pension funds into bonds in an attempt to match assets and liabilities at a time when the bond market was not a particularly attractive investment. The latter have been part of various countries' pensions environment for so long they appear to be unquestioned.

European Top 10 Pension Funds by assets (€m):

1. ABP………….Netherlands…………..186902.9
2. Global…….…Norway………….……176394.1
3. Statens………Norway…………………97562.5
4. AP Funds…..Sweden………………..89420.0
5. PGGM………..Netherlands………….69001.0
6. Alecta………..Sweden………………..44000.6
7. BT…………….UK………………………..42543.7
8. ATP………….Denmark……………….40800.6
9. USS…………..UK………………………..38570.8
10. BVK…………Germany……………….38000.6

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