Investment funds profit from share price gains

Statistical News Release
Date 16 February 2012

Total net assets of Dutch investment funds rose by 1.7% quarter on quarter (EUR 7.7 billion) to EUR 474.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. This the highest level since statistics on investment funds began in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Price gains on equities, in particular, made a positive contribution to the increase in net assets, whereas in the third quarter of 2011 net assets declined by 0.3% quarter on quarter due to price losses on equities. The number of investment funds climbed by 12 to 1,468 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Investment funds' total return (in % QoQ)

In the fourth quarter of 2011 a positive total return of 4.7% quarter on quarter was achieved on the investment portfolios. Price gains on equity investments came to 10.1% quarter on quarter, while the MSCI World index (benchmark, measured in euros) gained 10.7% quarter on quarter. The positive sentiment in the equity market was the result of the market expectations that economic recovery in the United States will continue. The various equity regions showed large differences in price gains. North-America funds achieved the highest  total return (15.5% quarter on quarter) in the category of equity funds. This was due to the rise in US equity prices − the S&P 500 rose 11.2% quarter on quarter − and the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro by 4.2% quarter on quarter. Asia funds showed the poorest relative performance (+3.6% quarter on quarter total return), amid relatively subdued results of Asian shares in the last quarter of 2011. Investments in government bonds – mainly of euro countries − suffered quarter on quarter losses of  0.9%. This in line with the decline of the iBoxx Euro Sovereign index (a benchmark) with 1.4% quarter on quarter. The portfolios of corporate bonds yielded quarter on quarter price gains of 1.8%.

Investment funds reported net outflows of EUR 17.7 billion in the last quarter of 2011. This is the first net outflow since the fourth quarter of 2010. The steep net outflow was partly caused by the swap of Rabobank Member Certificates for an amount of EUR 6.7 billion on 6 October 2011. The old Rabobank Member Certificates counted as units in an investment funds, i.e. Rabobank Ledencertificaten NV. This investment fund invested in a deeply subordinated loan to Rabobank Nederland. The new Rabobank Member Certificates, however, are issued directly by Rabobank Nederland and hence do not qualify as collective investment scheme units. The remaining EUR 11.0 billion of net outflow was primarily caused by institutional investors.

Hedge funds were one of the few fund categories showing a significant positive net inflow (EUR 0.8 billion), despite the moderate total returns of hedge funds (+2.5% quarter on quarter) in the last quarter of 2011. The underlying cause may be the continuing diversification of the investment portfolios, such as the inclusion of a relatively larger holdings of hedgefunds in the investment portfolios.

For further information please contact Herman Lutke Schipholt (tel. +31 20 524 2712, + 31 6524 96 900) or Kees Verhagen (tel. 020-524 2272, 06-211 23 922).

Definition of collective investment scheme
Collective investment schemes attract funds from the general public for collective investments.
Collective investment schemes are understood to mean investment companies (legal persons) and investment funds (not legal persons). In everyday usage, both are often referred to as 'investment funds'.