Norway’s high standard of sovereign fund management

The FT describes how Norway’s sovereign fund management sets the standard. Government Pension Fund-Global, part of Norges Bank, was set up by the Norwegian government in 1990 and manages about €235 billion. It has worked with authorities in Kazakhstan, East Timor, Bolivia, the Faroe Islands and several African countries among others.

“We make no strategic investments,” said Martin Skancke, director-general of the fund at the Ministry of Finance. “We invest in individual companies and sec tors. We are invested in between 3,000 and 4,000 companies in 40 countries and average ownership of a company is below 1 per cent. We do not feel that this distorts markets.”

Investment decisions are either made by individuals at the fund with specific investment mandates or are contracted out to external asset managers. At the end of 2006, 22 per cent of the fund was managed by 50 external managers with 80 different mandates.

Transparency is paramount. The ministry receives advice on the investment guidelines from the Central Bank of Norway. Consultants are also employed to help with this work as well as to judge performance and the management of costs.

Ethical Guidelines for the Government Pension Fund – Global Norwegian Ministry of Finance

Principles for Corporate Governance and the Protection of Financial Assets

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