Aegon has reported that its net income for the first quarter of 2008 was down 78% to E153 million from a net income of E707 million for the comparable quarter in 2007.

According to the group, the decrease in earnings was a result of lower operating earnings and a decline in realized investment gains.

For the period, underlying earnings before tax was E658 million, up 9% compared to E658 million during the corresponding period in 2007. Revenue generating investments totaled E340 billion at the end of March 2008, down 8% from December 2007.

Operating earnings before tax decreased to E342 million. The weakening of the US dollar and the British pound impacted operating earnings. Operating earnings in the Americas and The Netherlands showed a decline as a result of the impact of financial markets on the performance of fair value items.

Alexander Wynaendts, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Aegon, said: Since the end of the quarter we have seen a reversal of the widening of credit spreads, which would have reduced significantly the negative impact of fair value assets on Aegon’s operating earnings and net income.