Government Pension Fund of Norway
- The Government Pension Fund Global (formerly The Government Petroleum Fund)
- The Government Pension Fund Norway (formerly The National Insurance Scheme Fund)
The Government Pension Fund
The Government Pension Fund (Norwegian: Statens pensjonsfond Utland, SPU) is a fund into which the surplus wealth produced by Norwegian petroleum income is deposited. The fund changed name in January 2006 from its previous name, The Petroleum Fund of Norway. The fund is commonly referred to as The Oil Fund (Norwegian: Oljefondet).
As of the valuation in June 2011, it was the largest pension fund in the world, although it is not a pension fund in the traditional sense as it derives its financial backing from oil profits and not pension contributions. As of 30 September 2014 its total value is NOK 5.534 trillion ($857.1 billion), holding one percent of global equity markets. With 1.78 percent of European stocks, it is said to be the largest stock owner in Europe.
The purpose of the petroleum fund is to invest parts of the large surplus generated by the Norwegian petroleum sector, generated mainly from taxes of companies, but also payment for license to explore as well as the State's Direct Financial Interest and dividends from partly state-owned Statoil. Current revenue from the petroleum sector is estimated to be at its peak period and to decline over the next decades. The Petroleum Fund was established in 1990 after a decision by the country's legislature to counter the effects of the forthcoming decline in income and to smooth out the disruptive effects of highly fluctuating oil prices.
Management and size
The fund is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), a part of the Norwegian Central Bank on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. It is currently the largest pension fund in Europe and is larger than the California public-employees pension fund (CalPERS), one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. The Norwegian Ministry of Finance forecasts that the fund will reach NOK 4.3 trillion ($717 billion) by the end of 2014 and NOK 6 trillion ($1 trillion) by the end of 2019. In a parliamentary white paper in April 2011 the Norwegian Ministry of Finance forecast that the 2030 value of the fund would be NOK 7.4 trillion ($1.3 trillion). A worst-case scenario for the fund value in 2030 was forecast at NOK 2.7 trillion ($455 billion) and a best case scenario at NOK 19.6 trillion ($3.3 trillion).
Since 1998 the fund has been allowed to invest up to 40 percent of its portfolio in the international stock market. In June 2009, the ministry decided to raise the stock portion to 60 percent. In May 2014, the Central bank Governor proposed raising the rate to 70 percent. The Norwegian Government planned that up to 5 percent of the fund should be invested in real estate, beginning in 2010. A specific policy for the real estate investments was suggested in a report the Swiss Partners Group wrote for the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.
Norway's sovereign wealth fund is taking steps to become more active in proxy voting. In the second quarter of 2013, the sovereign fund voted in 6,078 general meetings as well as 239 shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has the potential to greatly influence the corporate governance market in Europe – possibly China as well.
Due to the large size of the fund relative to the low number of people living in Norway (5.1 million people in 2014), the Petroleum Fund has become a hot political issue, dominated by three main issues:
- Whether the country should use more of the petroleum revenues for the state budget instead of saving the funds for the future. The main matter of debate is to what degree increased government spending would increase inflation.
- Whether the high level of exposure (around 60 percent in 2008) to the highly volatile stock market is financially safe. Others claim that the high diversification and extreme long term of the investments will dilute the risk and that the state is losing considerable amounts of money due to the low investment percentage in the stock market.
- Whether the investment policy of the Petroleum Fund is ethical.
The Ethical Council
Part of the investment policy debate is related to the discovery of several cases of investment by The Petroleum Fund in highly controversial companies, involved in businesses such as arms production, tobacco and fossil fuels. The Petroleum Fund’s Advisory Council on Ethics was established 19 November 2004 by royal decree. Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance issued a new regulation on the management of the Government Petroleum Fund which also includes ethical guidelines.
According to its ethical guidelines, the Norwegian pension fund cannot invest money in companies that directly or indirectly contribute to killing, torture, deprivation of freedom, or other violations of human rights in conflict situations or wars. Contrary to popular belief, the fund is allowed to invest in a number of arms-producing companies, as only some kind of weapons such as nuclear arms, are banned by the ethical guidelines as investment objects.
To support the ethical screening process, the Council on Ethics works with RepRisk ESG Business Intelligence, a global research firm and provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk data. RepRisk monitors the companies in the Norwegian Pension Fund’s portfolio for issues such as severe human rights violations, particularly regarding child labor, forced labor, and violations of individual rights in conflict areas, as well as gross environmental degradation and corruption. RepRisk has been working with the Council on Ethics since 2009 and in 2014, re-won the tender for ESG data provision for 2014-2017.
An investigation by the Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv in February 2012 showed that Norway has invested more than $2 billion in 15 technology companies producing technology that can and has been used for either filtering, wiretapping, or surveillance of communication in various countries, among them Iran, Syria, and Burma. Although surveillance tech is not the primary activity of all these 15 companies, they have all had, or still have some kind of connection to such technology. The Ministry of Finance in Norway stated that it would not withdraw investing in these companies, nor would it discuss an eventual exclusion of surveillance industry companies from its investments.
The Ethical Council is headed by Ola Mestad, a Norwegian lawyer who works for the European Centre of Law, who previously worked for the law firm Bahr, where he was specialized in oil-sector issues. The other members are Gro Nystuen, Bente Rathe, Ylva Lindberg, and Dag Olav Hessen.
On 19 January 2010 the Ministry of Finance announced that 17 tobacco companies had been excluded from the fund. The total divestment from these companies was $2 billion (NOK 14.2 billion), making it the largest divestment caused by ethical recommendations in the history of the fund.
Norway's minister of finance Siv Jensen has recommended that the Ethical council should be dismantled. The decision to close down the council is in line with the recommendation from the Strategy Council, appointed by the Ministry of Finance.
In March 2014, as the result of both domestic and international pressure, the parliament appointed a panel to investigate whether the fund should divest its coal assets in line with its ethical investment mandate. The panel released its recommendations in December 2014, recommending the fund follow a strategy of corporate engagement rather than divestment. The parliament is set to make its decision in the European Spring of 2015.
In 2014 the fund divested from 53 coal companies around the world, including 16 companies in the US companies (among them Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources), 13 companies in India (including Coal India) and 3 companies in China. As a result of this divestment the total value of the fund’s coal holdings fell by 5% to $9.7 billion. In the same year of 2014 the fund increased its stakes in 59 out of 90 oil and gas companies in which it holds shares by $30 billion.
|This section is outdated. (November 2013)|
The following companies have been excluded from the Government Pension Fund of Norway due to activities in breach of the ethical guidelines:
|Company||HQ||Date of exclusion||Reason||Divestment (USD)|
|Africa Israel Investments||Israel||24 August 2010||Violation of the Geneva Convention in occupied Palestinian territory by being involved in developing settlements||1.2m|
|Alliance One International, Inc.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||0.9m|
|Alliant Techsystems Inc||USA||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]|
|Altria Group Inc.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||131m|
|Barrick Gold Corporation||Canada||30 Jan 2009||Extensive environmental degradation related to the Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea||245m|
|Babcock & Wilcox||USA||11 January 2013||Production of nuclear arms||N/A|
|Boeing Company||USA||11 Oct 2005||Maintenance of ICBMs for the U.S. Air Force.||N/A [nb 2]|
|British American Tobacco BHD||Malaysia||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||9.4m|
|British American Tobacco Plc.||United Kingdom||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||683m|
|Danya Cebus||Israel||24 August 2010||Violation of the Geneva Convention in occupied Palestinian territory by being involved in developing settlements||N/A|
|Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd.||China||28 February 2009||Sale of weapons and military material to Burma||N/A|
|European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V.|| France
|30 Jun 2005||Production of nuclear missiles for the French Air Force through the company MBDA[nb 3]||N/A [nb 1]|
|Elbit Systems||Israel||3 Sep 2009||Supply of surveillance systems for the Israeli West Bank barrier||5.0m|
|Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.||USA||28 Mar 2006||Serious environmental damage.||17.2m|
|GenCorp Inc||USA||15 Nov 2007||Production of nuclear weapons.||N/A|
|General Dynamics Corporation||USA||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]|
|Grupo Carso SAB de CV||Mexico||15 Feb 2011||Production of tobacco.||N/A|
|Gudang Garam tbk pt||Indonesia||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||0|
|Hanwha Corporation||South Korea||15 May 2007||Production of cluster munitions.||1.2m|
|Honeywell International Inc.||USA||11 Oct 2005||Simulations of nuclear explosions.||N/A [nb 2]|
|Huabao International Holdings Limited||8 May 2013||Production of tobacco||N/A|
|Imperial Tobacco Group Plc||United Kingdom||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||347m|
|ITC Ltd.||India||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||48m|
|Japan Tobacco Inc.||Japan||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||210m|
|Jacobs Engineering Group||USA||11 January 2013||Production of nuclear arms||N/A|
|KT&G Corp.||South Korea||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||16m|
|Lingui Development Berhad Ltd.||16 February 2011||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Lockheed Martin Corp||USA||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]|
|Lorillard Inc.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||42m|
|Madras Aluminium||United Kingdom||31 October 2007||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Norilsk Nickel||Russia||31 October 2009||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Northrop Grumman Corp.||USA||11 Oct 2005||Maintenance of ICBMs for the U.S. Air Force.||N/A [nb 2]|
|Philip Morris Int. Inc.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||476m|
|Philip Morris Cr AS||Czech Republic||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||2.7m|
|Poongsan Corporation||South Korea||30 Sep 2006||Production of cluster munition.||1.2m|
|Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan||Canada||30 Sep 2011||Production of phosphate in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.||274m|
|Raytheon Company||USA||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]|
|Reynolds American Inc.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||36m|
|Rio Tinto Group|| United Kingdom
|28 Apr 2008||Severe environmental damage||882m|
|Samling Global Ltd.||Malaysia||23 Aug 2010||"Illegal logging and severe environmental damage"||1.4m|
|SAFRAN SA||France||11 Oct 2005||Production of nuclear missiles for the French Navy.||N/A [nb 2]|
|Serco Group Plc||United Kingdom||15 Nov 2007||Maintenance of British nuclear weapons through the Atomic Weapons Establishment.||N/A|
|Sesa Sterlite Limited||India||30 January 2014||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc.||8 May 2013||Production of tobacco||N/A|
|Shanghai Industrial Holdings||China||15 March 2011||Production of tobacco||N/A|
|Shikun UVinui||Israel||17 June 2012||Violation of the Geneva Convention in occupied Palestinian territory by being involved in developing settlements||1.4m|
|Souza Cruz SA||Brazil||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||7.4m|
|Singapore Technologies Engineering||Singapore||22 Mar 2002||Production of anti-personnel landmines.||N/A|
|Sterlite Industries||India||31 October 2007||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Swedish Match AB||Sweden||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||75m|
|Ta Ann Holdings Berhad||14 October 2013||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Textron Inc||USA||30 Jan 2009||Production of components for cluster munitions.||36m|
|Universal Corp VA||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||3m|
|WTK Holdings Berhad||14 October 2013||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Vector Group Ltd.||USA||19 Jan 2010||Production of tobacco.||2.1m|
|Vedanta Resources Plc||UK||28 Aug 2007||Environmental and human rights abuses.||12m|
|Volcan (mining company)||Peru||14 October 2013||Severe environmental damages||7.5m|
|Wal-Mart Stores Inc.||USA||28 Mar 2006||Breach of human rights and labour rights.||372m|
|Zijin Mining||China||14 October 2013||Severe environmental damages||N/A|
|Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd.||14 October 2013||Serious or systematic human rights violations||N/A|
The fund does not announce exclusions until it has completed sales of its positions, so as not to affect the share price at the time of the transaction.
Three previously excluded companies have later been reinstated to the fund, because the companies were no longer involved in the activities that led to their exclusion.
|Company||HQ||Date of exclusion||Reason||Divestment (USD)||Date of reinstatement|
|BAE Systems Plc.||United Kingdom||11 Oct 2005||Production of nuclear missiles for the French Air Force through the company MBDA.||N/A [nb 2]||11 Jan 2013|
|DRD Gold Limited||South Africa||29 Jan 2007||Serious environmental damage.||0.6m||3 Sep 2009|
|Finmeccanica S.p.A.||Italy||11 Oct 2005||Production of nuclear missiles for the French Air Force through the company MBDA.||N/A [nb 2]||11 Jan 2013|
|FMC Corporation||USA||30 Sep 2011||Production of phosphate in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.||52m||11 Jan 2013|
|Kerr-McGee Corporation||USA||29 Apr 2005||Petroleum surveying in occupied Western Sahara||54m||30 Jun 2006|
|L3 Communications Holdings Inc||USA||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]||31 August 2005|
|Thales SA||France||30 Jun 2005||Production of components for cluster munitions.||N/A [nb 1]||3 Sep 2009|
|United Technologies Corp.||USA||11 Oct 2005||Production of engines for ICBMs in the U.S. Air Force.||N/A [nb 2]||2 March 2013|
Companies "under observation"
As an alternative to full exclusion from the fund, companies may be placed "under observation" in order to help put pressure on the company to improve.
|Company||HQ||Date of warning||Reason||Shares|
|Alstom||France||6 Dec 2011||Risk of gross corruption||N/A|
In October 2010 the fund spent NOK 600 million ($136.4 million as of October 2010) daily buying foreign currencies. That figure would be increased to 800 million kroner daily in November. This practice was suspended in January 2011, and on 31 January it was announced that this would also be the case in February.
The Government Pension Fund – Norway
The Government Pension Fund – Norway (Norwegian: Statens pensjonsfond Norge, SPN) was established by the National Insurance Act (Folketrygdloven) in 1967 under the name National Insurance Scheme Fund (Norwegian: Folketrygdfondet). The name was changed at the same time as the former Petroleum Fund on 1 January 2006. This fund continues to be managed by a separate board and separate government entity still named Folketrygdfondet. The Government Pension Fund – Norway had a value of NOK 106.9 billion at the end of 2006. Unlike the Global division, it is instructed to invest in domestic companies on the stock market, predominantly on Oslo Stock Exchange. Due to this, the Government Pension Fund – Norway is a key stock owner in many large Norwegian companies.
- The total divestment from the seven companies Alliant Techsystems Inc, EADS Co (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company), General Dynamics Corporation, L3 Communications Holdings Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co and Thales SA was approx. $340 million.
- The total divestment from the seven companies BAE Systems Plc, Boeing Co., Finmeccanica S.p.A., Honeywell International Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Safran SA and United Technologies Corp was apx. 500 million USD.
- EADS was initially excluded because it produced cluster munitions components, but the company later stopped such production. The exclusion was upheld due to the company's production of nuclear missiles.
- The budgetary rule – concerning the usage of capital gains from The Government Pension Fund – Global
- Pensions in Norway
- Economy of Norway
- Sovereign wealth fund
- Energy Resources of Norway
- Ethical investing
- Government Pension Fund Global Annual Report 2009 (PDF), Oslo: Norges Bank Investment Management, 2010-03-05, pp. 18–19, ISSN 1891-1323, retrieved 2010-03-08
- Sindre Heyerdahl, E24. "OLJEFONDETS GIGANTTAP PÅ AKTIV FORVALTNING: Mener Gjedrem bløffer om investeringene" (in Norwegian).
- Stortingsmelding 1 (2010–2011): Nasjonalbudsjettet 2011 [The National Budget 2011] (PDF) (in Norwegian). Oslo: Royal Norwegian Ministry of Finance. 2010-10-01. p. 56. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- Meld. St. 15 (2010–2011): Forvaltningen av Statens pensjonsfond i 2010 117–119 [The Management of the Government Pension Fund 2010] (PDF) (in Norwegian). Oslo: Royal Norwegian Ministry of Finance. 2011-04-08. pp. 117–119. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "Stortingsmelding nr. 1 (2009–2010) – Nasjonalbudsjettet 2010" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norwegian Ministry of Finance. 2009-10-09. p. 145.
- "Investment Policy for Real Estate" (PDF). Baar, Switzerland: Partners Group. 2009-09-15.
- "Could Norway’s Sovereign Fund be a Vanguard for Corporate Governance." Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- "http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/02/folkendrkv_en/". Statistics Norway.
- "RI ESG Briefing, January 28: Norwegian government fund selects RepRisk for portfolio monitoring" (PDF) (Responsible Investor). 28 January 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Tobacco producers excluded from Government Pension Fund Global". The Norwegian Ministry of Finance. 2010-01-19.
- The Ethical Council of The Government Pension Fund of Norway (2009-10-22). "Recommendation October 22nd, 2009" (PDF).
- Damian Carrington, the Guardian (2015-03-16). "Norway’s sovereign wealth fund drops over 50 coal companies".
- Damian Carrington, the Guardian (2015-03-13). "Norway’s giant fund increases stake in oil and gas companies to £20bn".
- Damian Carrington, the Guardian (2015-03-13). "Norway’s giant fund increases stake in oil and gas companies to £20bn".
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- "Three companies excluded from the Government Pension Fund Global". The Ministry of Finance. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
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- The Ethical Council of the Government Pension Fund of Norway (2006-04-18). "Tilrådning 18. april 2006" (in Norwegian).
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2009-09-04). "Supplier of surveillance equipment for the separation barrier in the West Bank excluded from the Government Pension Fund – Global".
- Ethical Council of the Government Pension Fund of Norway (2009-09-04). "Recommendation on the exclusion of the company Elbit Systems Ltd".
- Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz (2009-09-03). "Norway envoy summoned on divestment". Jerusalem Post.
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2006-06-06). "To selskaper – Wal-Mart og Freeport – trekkes ut av Statens pensjonsfond – Utland" (in Norwegian).
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2008-01-11). "One producer of cluster munitions and two producers of nuclear weapons excluded from the Government Pension Fund – Global".
- The Council on Ethics (15 Feb 2011). "Til Finansdepartementet" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Norwegian Ministry of Finance. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- The Council on Ethics (2008-01-11). "Recommendation on exclusion of the companies Rheinmetall AG and Hanwha Corp".
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2006-12-06). "Sørkoreansk klasevåpenprodusent utelukket fra Statens pensjonsfond – Utland" (in Norwegian).
- "Statens pensjonsfond utland: To selskaper utelukkes fra fondets investeringsunivers" (in Norwegian). 6 Dec 2011.
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2008-09-09). "The Government Pension Fund divests its holdings in mining company".
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2002-03-22). "Petroleumfondets Folkerettsråd – Notat til Finansdepartementet" (in Norwegian).
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2007-11-06). "Metals and mining company excluded from the investment universe of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global".
- "Norway's Big Ethical Giant" Vidya Ram, Forbes Magazine, 30 January 2009, http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/30/norway-mining-weapons-markets-equity-0130_markets15.html?partner=yahoobuzz
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2012-09-31). "Recommendation to revoke the exclusion of the companies BAE Systems plc. and Finmeccanica S.p.A. from the investment universe of the Government Pension Fund Global" (PDF). Check date values in:
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2007-04-11). "Mining company excluded from the investment universe of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global".
- The Council on Ethics (2009-02-13). "Recommendation to reverse the exclusion of DRD Gold".
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2005-06-06). "Første selskap utelukket fra Petroleumsfondet" (in Norwegian).
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2006-09-01). "KerrMcGee Corporation tas inn igjen i Statens pensjonsfond – Utland".
- Norwegian Ministry of Finance (2005-09-31). "Companies that have been excluded, but where the decision to exclude has later been revoked". Check date values in:
- The Council on Ethics (2009-02-13). "Recommendation to reverse the exclusion of Thales SA".
- "Statens pensjonsfond utland: Selskap settes til observasjon på grunn av risiko for korrupsjon" (in Norwegian). The Norwegian Ministry of Finance. 6 Dec 2011.
- Kristoffer Rønneberg (20 Feb 2010). "Ønsker "gult kort" for gruveselskap". Aftenposten. Retrieved 20 Feb 2010.
- "Norway c.bank to sell NOK 800 mln daily in Nov". Reuters. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Norway fund to refrain from fx buying in Feb". Reuters. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.