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FAQ

  • How did the oil fund come about?

    Oil was discovered in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea in 1969. Ekofisk was the largest offshore oil field ever found, and several more large fields came into production in the years that followed. For the first two decades, oil revenue was used mainly to invest in the oil industry and develop the welfare state. With time, though, it became clear that oil would generate much more revenue than originally anticipated. The oil fund was established in 1990 to ensure far-sighted management of this revenue. Good, long-term management of the fund will enable both current and future generations to benefit from Norway’s oil wealth. Read more about the fund and its history, and see our film.

  • What was the economic reasoning behind the fund?

    The fund was created to give the authorities more room for manoeuvre in times of falling oil prices and economic recession. Investing exclusively abroad would also prevent the Norwegian economy from overheating. In addition, the fund would help tackle the challenges of higher pension payouts and dwindling oil revenue in the future. The idea was therefore to invest for the long term, but in a way that the money was still available if needed.  Read more about the fund and its history, and see our film.

  • What is the “fiscal rule”?

    The fund is integrated into the government’s annual budget, and the “fiscal rule” is a fundamental principle of Norwegian fiscal policy. The rule states that, on average, the government’s spending of oil revenue must not exceed the expected real return on the fund, estimated at 4 percent per year. This helps ensure that oil revenue is phased into the economy gradually. Furthermore, only the return on the fund is spent, and not the fund’s capital, which means that the fund will also benefit future generations.

  • Who manages the fund?

    The Ministry of Finance owns the fund on behalf of the Norwegian people. The Ministry has established the general investment strategy and rules for the fund in the Management Mandate for the Government Pension Fund Global after consulting Norges Bank among others, and following debate in the Storting. Norges Bank has been tasked with the management of the fund, and its Executive Board has delegated the operational management of the fund to Norges Bank Investment Management. Read more about the fund's governance model.

  • What is Norges Bank Investment Management’s task?

    As the fund’s manager, Norges Bank Investment Management has been entrusted with safeguarding and building financial wealth for future generations. The overall objective is the highest possible long-term return. This is to be achieved with an acceptable level of risk, in a responsible manner, with an efficient organisation, and with a high degree of openness about how the fund is managed. Read more about the organisation.

  • What is the fund’s investment strategy?

    The fund is invested globally in international equities, fixed income and real estate. The goal is to have well diversified investments that distribute risk and generate the highest possible return within the mandate from the Ministry of Finance. The fund has no short-term liquidity needs or commitments to withdrawals, and this allows it to invest more in risk assets and provide liquidity when other investors’ risk capacity or liquidity is constrained. In addition, the fund is exposed to risk factors that are expected to produce high returns over time. Read more in our strategy plan

  • Where does the fund’s money come from?

    The fund consists of oil revenue transferred from the government plus the return on the fund’s investments. Its market value in Norwegian kroner is also influenced by movements in exchange rates. Read more about the fund's market value.

  • Where can the fund invest, and what can it invest in?

    The fund can invest only outside Norway. The mandate requires the fund to invest 60 percent of its capital in equities, 35-40 percent in fixed-income securities and up to 5 percent in real estate. Equity investments are restricted to companies that are, or intend to be, listed on a recognised marketplace. Read more about the fund's management mandate.

  • Where is the fund invested at present?

    The fund is invested in most markets, industries, countries and currencies in order to capture global growth and diversify risk as best possible. We publish a complete list of holdings once a year with information on all equities, fixed-income instruments and properties the fund is invested in.

  • Are there any companies or countries the fund cannot invest in?

    The Ministry of Finance has issued guidelines on responsible investment and set up a Council on Ethics to consider whether the fund’s investments in individual companies comply with these guidelines. The Council assesses relevant cases and makes recommendations to Norges Bank on the observation or exclusion of companies. Norges Bank’s Executive Board is responsible for managing the fund and takes the final decision on whether to follow the Council’s recommendations. The Ministry of Finance may also decide that the fund should not be invested in fixed-income securities issued by certain countries, such as those subject to extensive international sanctions supported by Norway. This currently means Syria, Iran and North Korea.

  • How much of the fund is managed externally?

    At the end of 2016, a total of 4.5 percent of the fund was managed externally through 91 mandates awarded to 76 managers. External management enables us to invest in new markets and segments for both equities and fixed-income securities. We use external equity managers for most of our investments in emerging markets and all of our investments in frontier markets. External managers are also used to supplement our internal resources for selected strategies, such as investments in small-cap companies and our environment-related mandates. Read more about the external mandates.

  • Where can I find information about the fund’s returns?

    The page Returns presents historical return data for the fund since 1998. The fund’s results are also available in our reports.

  • How do you expect the fund to perform in the future?

    The Ministry of Finance publishes annual projections of the fund’s expected future market value. See the projections of the fund's size.

  • What do you do to ensure that the fund is managed responsibly?

    The oil fund is a financial investor with the objective of safeguarding wealth for future generations. Our investment decisions must therefore take account of environmental, social and financial risks that could affect the long-term profitability of companies and so the value of the fund. Our work on responsible investment has three pillars: standard setting, ownership and risk management. We promote international principles and standards of corporate governance. We express expectations as an investor, and exercise active ownership by voting and engaging with companies. Environmental, social and governance issues are integrated into the investment process and into risk management. This may mean that we adjust the portfolio and decide to divest, or not to buy, certain securities.

  • Where can I find information about voting?

    The fund's voting records contain details of our voting at companies’ general meetings. This information is available in the search function from the day after the meeting. At selected companies, and for certain issues that we consider particularly important, we publish our voting intentions ahead of the meeting. The reason for announcing our intentions is to increase transparency and encourage initiatives that can strengthen the voting process.

  • I have an investment proposal that I would like to present to you – who should I contact?

    We receive large numbers of investment proposals. To ensure that they are prioritised appropriately, we have decided to concentrate on those coming through investment banks and other recognised market participants. Should you wish to get in touch, please use our contact form.

  • Can I personally or my company invest in the fund?

    No

  • How do I apply for a job at Norges Bank Investment Management?

    Information on vacancies and our Investment Talent Programme trainee scheme can be found on our career pages.