Norway wealth fund wants to invest in unlisted groups

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world worth more than $1 trillion, wants to be able to invest in companies that are not listed on the stock market, it said in a letter published on Wednesday.

Norway wealth fund wants to invest in unlisted groups
Norges Bank Investment Management CEO Yngve Slyngstad presents financial results in 2017. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Intended to finance Norway's welfare state when the country's oil runs dry, 65.9 percent of the fund is currently invested in equities, 31.6 percent in bonds and 2.5 percent in real estate.

The Norwegian central bank, in charge of managing the fund, is always on the look-out for ways of diversifying its investments and maximising its profits.

In the letter to the finance ministry, the bank recommended investing in unlisted groups, citing historical data which suggested they could offer a “slightly higher” return than listed companies.

The number of listed companies appears to have declined in recent decades, the bank argued, pointing to a nearly 50-percent drop in the number of American companies listed in the United States since 1996.

In practise, the bank recommended starting with investing in or alongside private equity funds.

It is now up to the finance ministry to review the recommendation before submitting a proposal to the parliament, which has the final say.

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