We are an active owner and use our voting rights to safeguard the fund’s assets. As a large, long-term investor, we engage directly with companies’ boards and management.
We are a minority shareholder in around 9,000 companies. As part of our ownership work, we vote at general meetings and engage directly with companies' boards and management. We have to make priorities so that our efforts have the greatest possible impact. This means that we focus on the companies where the fund has its largest investments by market value, and on companies that operate in particularly high-risk sectors.
Our active ownership is to pave the way for long-term profitable business practices and safeguard the fund's investments. Our work is therefore dependent on good knowledge of the companies, sectors and markets we invest in. As well as engaging in dialogue, we conduct financial analyses and monitor companies’ performance.
Voting is one of the most important tools at our disposal for exercising our ownership rights. It presents an important formal opportunity to express views, influence companies and show support for the board – or hold it to account.
We seek to vote at all general meetings of companies the fund invests in. Given the size of the fund, we will often be one of the largest shareholders in a company in terms of the percentage of voting rights held. Our voting also extends to shares managed by external managers.
As a responsible investor, we promote long-term value creation, sustainable business practices, board accountability, shareholder rights, equal treatment of shareholders and transparent corporate communication.
We base our voting on publicly available information but will also seek to enter into dialogue with a company where necessary.
We are open about how we vote
Our voting guidelines
Our voting shall be predictable, transparent and in line with the fund's long-term strategy. Norges Bank Investment Management has drawn up voting guidelines that set out our approach to voting and the overarching positions that guide our voting decisions.
Interaction with companies
As a large, long-term investor, we engage in dialogue with companies. Our holding size gives us access to senior management and specialists at the companies we invest in. These meetings give us an opportunity to learn about companies' operations, governance and prospects, and also to present our views on ownership, sustainable business practices and reporting.
One important communication channel is investor meetings in connection with public events such as general meetings and open conference calls. Meetings with individual investors, group meetings and site visits may also offer opportunities.
We encourage the companies we invest in to be open in their public disclosures, because this contributes to efficient markets and equal treatment of shareholders. We believe it is important for companies that shareholders have insight into a company’s operations and can communicate their views based on their own analyses.
Engaging with boards
The chairperson and other directors of a company are often the most important points of contact for us as a shareholder. The board is responsible for the company’s long-term strategy. It should hold management to account, and understand the views of shareholders.
The chairperson is responsible for ensuring a well-functioning board. We therefore hold various meetings with company chairpersons to discuss the board’s working culture and dynamics. We also discuss how chairpersons ensure useful debate and safeguard the quality of the board’s work.
Serving as the chairperson of a large company is a demanding task. It is therefore important to us that the chairperson has sufficient time to fulfil this role. At the same time, we note a number of occasions where chairpersons sit on several boards. If their workload appears particularly heavy, we will discuss the challenges this may present. Similarly, we consider it to be in the fund’s interest that CEOs are not overly burdened by competing outside interests from complex and time-consuming non-executive directorships.
We are also interested in succession planning for companies’ CEOs and directors. We look at the knowledge and experience required of future executives and assess the structures companies have in place for succession and nomination processes.