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Households sold historically high levels of investments in late 2023


Dutch households on balance sold €4.7 billion worth of investments in the fourth quarter of 2023. This is the highest amount since our record-keeping of this data began, in 2009. Despite historically high sales, the value of household investments still increased due to rising stock prices.

Published: 20 February 2024

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In particular, households disposed of positions in investment funds (€2.4 billion) and listed shares (€2.0 billion). In addition, net sales of bonds amounted to €0.3 billion. Sales were particularly large in December 2023, at €3.4 billion.

Source: DNB statistics

At De Nederlandsche Bank, we independently compile statistics on the Dutch financial sector and economy. This article is based on these statistics. More information on our statistics and all dashboards can be found on our Statistics homepage.

Total net sales of €4.7 billion are the largest since we started keeping these statistics in 2009. The second largest quarterly sale amounted to €2.8 billion and took place in the last quarter of 2011, at the time of the euro crisis.

Sales took place across the investment portfolio. In terms of individual positions, the largest sales involved specific bond funds, money market funds and listed shares.

Value of investments still increases due to high returns

Despite the high sales, the value of the aggregate investment portfolio of Dutch households increased in the final quarter of 2023. Investors achieved €8.0 billion in gains due to sharply higher stock prices. More than compensating for net sales, these gains boosted the investment portfolio by €3.3 billion to €166.0 billion. 

Households achieved returns of €5.0 billion (+4.5%) on their investment fund positions, increasing investment fund holdings by €2.6 billion to €103.8 billion. Positive returns therefore outweighed extensive sales of investment fund units.

In addition, households achieved returns of €3.0 billion (+5.4%) on their direct positions in listed shares. Exceeding net sales, these returns drove up assets invested in shares to €56.6 billion as at 31 December 2023.

In the same period, the AEX index rose by 8.0% to 786 points. The MSCI World Index went up 11.5% in US dollar terms, but with the euro strengthening against the dollar, the effective return of the global equity market was 6.4% in euro terms in the last quarter of 2023. The return comprises the balance of any achieved price gains or losses and exchange rate movements.

Household portfolio investments viewed in perspective

The total securities holdings of Dutch households consist of listed shares, investment fund positions and debt securities totalling €166.0 billion as at 31 December 2023. Our new dashboard on household securities holdings presents a further breakdown of these investments.

By comparison, Dutch households have much more savings in savings accounts with Dutch banks (€458.9 billion) than investments. They also hold €117.4 billion in payment accounts with Dutch banks. Added to this are substantial assets kept with pension funds and insurers, business assets of self-employed persons and home equity, which fall outside securities holdings.

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), there are 8.3 million private households in the Netherlands. Of these, around a quarter (1.9 million) invest, according to research (in Dutch) conducted by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).

More information

Table 4.6: Investments by Dutch households in securities

Dashboard: securities holdings of Dutch households (new)


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