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Sovereign Wealth Funds Briefing - Category | Ethical/Green Investments more

Norway’s Pension Fund Is Advised to Keep Fossil Fuel Shares

Posted on 11 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

If the decision had been different, it might have made a dramatic headline: “Norway to sell out of oil companies.” Instead, a panel of experts advising Norway’s Finance Ministry recommended last week that the giant sovereign wealth fund that invests the country’s petroleum wealth remain an active investor in oil and coal companies.
The six-person group was set up by the government this year in response to pressure from opposition parties for the fund to divest its holdings in companies that extract coal. Of all the fossil fuels, coal produces the highest emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Environmental groups have been urging curbs on coal and tar sands as initial steps to a broad exit from all fossil fuels………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian fund opts not to exclude coal and oil

Posted on 08 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund will not be forced to sell coal and oil stocks but will try to influence better ethical behaviour on a case-by-base basis by shareholder engagement. Opposition parties in Norway had called for the fund, which, ironically, exists to invest Norway’s income from selling oil, to divest from fossil fuel companies.
Other institutional investors including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stanford University and Glasgow University have committed to selling fossil fuel stocks in response to environmental concerns………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s oil fund will continue to invest in fossil fuels

Posted on 05 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A government panel has rejected calls for Norway’s $870 billion (£555bn) wealth fund to divest from polluting fossil fuels, instead advocating an engagement approach.
The Government Pensions Fund of Norway is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. The fund owns around 1.25% of the world’s stocks, with 10-15% of its portfolio being invested in oil and gas, earning it the name ‘oil fund’. Of the 200 companies holding the majority of fossil fuel reserves, the oil fund invests in 147………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway To Assess Fossil Fuel Assets Case-By-Case

Posted on 05 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $870 billion sovereign wealth fund announced the findings of a government commission Wednesday of its current coal, oil, and gas investments, stating that the most harmful of these climate offenders would be excluded from the Fund on a “case-by-case basis.”
“We believe active ownership and engagement are appropriate primary tools for the [fund] to use to address climate-related issues,” the Ministry of Finance wrote in a press release Wednesday. Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance propose that the fund will continue to support relevant climate change research………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Experts urge Norway oil fund to consider climate

Posted on 05 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

An expert panel recommended on Wednesday that Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, give more consideration to climate change in its investments but stopped short of calling for it to spurn fossil fuels as demanded by environmentalists.
The panel was appointed by the government to examine calls by environmental groups and some politicians for the fund to divest from coal, oil and natural gas companies. The group of six independent experts recommended that climate change be added to the list of ethical criteria governing the six trillion kroner (€700 billion, $865 billion) fund’s investments but said it should not be the basis for a blanket exclusion………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway: oil fund climate change action should be case by case

Posted on 04 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $870 billion wealth fund is not an effective tool to fight climate change, a government commission said on Wednesday, rebuffing opposition calls that it should be forced to sell out of all coal investments.
The fund, which holds stakes in around 8,000 companies on all continents, should instead strengthen its active ownership, putting more weight on climate change and sell out of the worst offenders, the commission said in a statement. The fund, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, owns more than 1 percent of all global shares and many other long-term investors take their cue from its decisions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Oil Fund Urged to Exclude Firms on Climate Grounds

Posted on 04 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, should be allowed to exclude companies whose acts or omissions are “severely harmful to the climate,” an expert group said on Wednesday, amid mounting pressure for the fund to exit fossil assets, especially coal companies, to counter global warming.
However, the group said the $870 billion Norwegian fund shouldn’t immediately sell all its oil, gas and coal holdings, previously estimated at about 10% of its value, but rather exercise its ownership. “We believe active ownership and engagement are appropriate primary tools for the Government Pension Fund Global to use to address climate-related issues,” the group said in a statement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian oil fund should divest firms ‘harmful’ to global climate – report

Posted on 04 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund should be allowed to exclude any business that is “severely harmful” to the global climate, according to a new report, but should not categorically exclude fossil fuel companies.
The report, commissioned by the Ministry of Finance in April following pressure from the Norwegian Parliament, said the NOK6trn (€699bn) Government Pension Fund Global should not be viewed as an instrument of climate policy and rejected the concept of stranded assets as one that should guide investment policy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund sticking with oil

Posted on 04 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s oil fund is set to stay invested in oil. An expert committee set up by the Norwegian government recommended on Wednesday that the $870bn oil fund should not automatically sell out of all fossil fuel companies, reports Richard Milne.
Instead the fund should be an active and ethical owner and use its influence as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund to change the behaviour on climate change of oil, gas and coal companies, the report said. Hopes of environmentalists had been raised when Norway’s political parties agreed last year to the panel - headed by former finance ministry bureaucrat Martin Skancke - to examine the oil fund’s fossil fuel holdings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil fund’s coal investments ‘OK’

Posted on 04 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

An expert commission thinks its perfectly fine for Norway’s huge oil fund to keep investing in coal and other fossil fuels. Environmentalists objected immediately, but the commission argued that the fund can have more influence and control over coal production if it continues to be a major owner in coal companies.
Martin Skancke, leader of the commission, believes coal companies would simply continue to produce coal if the oil fund pulled out of them. Members of the commission, assigned to evaluate how Norway’s giant oil fund should handle its investments in coal and oil, thus recommended on Wednesday that the fund should hang on to them………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Wealth Fund Targets $3 Billion in Green Technology Stakes

Posted on 02 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, will invest almost $3 billion into green technology stocks next year, Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad signaled. tarting Jan. 1, the $870 billion fund will accelerate investments in renewable energy, waste management and energy-storage companies, among others, Slyngstad said last week in an interview after giving a speech in Geneva. The shift will take place over a “shorter time frame,” he said.
The fund is under political pressure to boost investment in environmentally friendly areas and reduce its exposure to the coal industry. Yet the shift has proved challenging as investments in the cleanest technologies have generated low returns or even losses……………………………………….Full Article: Source

A Green Future For Kazakhstan

Posted on 28 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan, which inherited many wasteful industries and inefficient processes from the old Soviet Union, has not escaped this sad legacy. But as the country’s economy develops rapidly, we are also determined to do all we can to repair the damage and avoid any future mistakes.
The urgent need to develop a green economy is at the heart of the EXPO exhibition which Kazakhstan is hosting in Astana in 2017. Our country’s sovereign wealth fund “Samruk Kazyna” is investing heavily in the knowledge and technology needed to support innovative and sustainable development…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian Oil Fund’s dirty investments continue

Posted on 27 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Sovereign Wealth Fund’s stakes in the coal industry are higher than previously acknowledged. These holdings amount to NOK 82.2bn in the coal sector, a study conducted by a handful of environmental organisations reveals. Report “Dirty & Dangerous” was a collaborative effort between three environmental organisations.
These were the German organisation Urgewald, Norway’s The Future in our Hands, and Greenpeace Norway. Head of the Norwegian Pension Fund, Yngve Slyngstad told parliamentarians at a parliamentary hearing earlier this year that, “Our investments in coal are limited and falling. They have been halved over the last two years”…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Oil fund grilled over its coal holdings

Posted on 27 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, known as the oil fund since it’s fueled by the country’s oil revenues, is being grilled once again, this time over its investments in coal. While environmentalists want the fund to dump its coal mining stakes, some economists do, too, warning that they can become unprofitable as well as damaging for the planet.
Oil fund officials have themselves claimed that the fund’s coal holdings are “limited and in decline.” Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of the fund, said in January that they’d been cut in half over the past two years. Next week, a special commission is due to evaluate whether the fund, a powerful player in international investment circles, should sell off or at last drastically reduce its remaining stakes in fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, for the sake of the environment…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norwegian fund may shed BHP stake

Posted on 26 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $US870 billion ($1.02 trillion) sovereign wealth fund may be forced to shed assets such as Coal India, BHP Billiton and China Shenhua Energy next year as pressure mounts for Parliament to act on fossil fuel divestments.
A report presented in Oslo on Tuesday by three environmental organisations urged Norway to shed the fund’s coal holdings. A second report, due next week, could put the fund under still more pressure to cut back on its coal investments. It will examine if climate change is more effectively addressed by preventing the fund from investing in certain coal related companies than by trying to affect change at the companies themselves………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund’s coal exposure bigger than claimed -environment groups

Posted on 26 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $860 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has more exposure to coal than it said earlier and should sell out, three environmental groups said, potentially re-igniting calls for the fund to revamp its portfolio.
The fund had investments worth 82 billion crowns at the start of the year in companies that are either major producers or consumers of coal, and the investment rose in 2013, contrary to the fund’s claims that coal exposure was falling, Germany’s Urgewald, Greenpeace and Norway’s Framtiden said on Tuesday………………………………..Full Article: Source

SWF Apologizes to Citizens for Merrill Lynch Investment

Posted on 26 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The head of South Korea’s $77 billion sovereign wealth fund has apologized to the country’s citizens for its disastrous $2 billion investment in Merrill Lynch, made shortly before the corporation merged with Bank of America.
“I believe that it was a poor investment and apologize to the people of Korea,” Hongchul Ahn, CEO of the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), told reporters in a news conference Monday. “I promise that Korea Investment Corporation will remember the painful lesson from the Merrill Lynch investment and become a global sovereign wealth fund.”……………………………….Full Article: Source

Sovereign Wealth Fund Divestment as an Environmental Protection Strategy

Posted on 24 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Divestment (also known as disinvestment) generally entails the use of economic means to pressure an entity, such as a corporation or government, towards a change in its policies or practices. It usually involves the reduction of an asset to achieve an ethical objective.
Organized economic boycotts have been utilized in a variety of situations where the practices of the impugned entity have been deemed to violate the norms of society, such as in the case of the tobacco industry, arms manufacturers and governments that support policies of apartheid. More recently, divestment strategies have made their way into the environmental protection sphere…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s largest pension fund vows to drop coal mine holdings

Posted on 24 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s largest pension fund has vowed to drop its holdings in coal miners, intensifying pressure on the coal industry from global investors. The NKr470bn ($70bn) KLP pension scheme, which manages the retirement assets of Norway’s public sector workers, will blacklist companies that derive more than 50 per cent of their revenues from coal-based activities.
The pension fund expects the withdrawal to lead to the sale of shares and bonds worth approximately NKr500m. It will publish a list of the companies affected on December 1…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Future Fund invests in fossil fuels but not tobacco

Posted on 21 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Former treasurer Peter Costello has defended the Future Fund’s investment decisions during a sometimes feisty Senate estimates hearing in Canberra. Mr Costello, who is the chairman of the fund, was questioned about why the fund continued to invest in fossil fuels given its decision to stop investing in tobacco companies.
Mr Costello said the fund concluded that no amount of tobacco was safe and its decision to divest those shares would not affect other investment decisions.”I think it would be extraordinary if the government of Australia in its sovereign wealth fund said it was going to pull out of coal or gas or oil,” he said………………………………….Full Article: Source

Irish sovereign fund to consider social housing investment

Posted on 18 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Ireland’s sovereign wealth fund would be open to investing in social housing but will be careful not to allocate too much of its €7bn capital to low economic impact projects, according to its head of infrastructure and credit.
Donal Murphy, previously head of project finance at Bank of Ireland and part of an in-house team that has grown from 13 to 35, said the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) was initially examining domestic investment propositions on the binary basis of providing an economic impact, or lacking one………………………………..Full Article: Source

Putrajaya must explain how 1MDB benefits Malaysians, says Dr M

Posted on 28 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Putrajaya to explain how the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had benefited Malaysians, after a news report exposed the extent of the sovereign wealth fund’s debts.
“A government spokesman said that the money from 1MDB is used for Bumiputras,” wrote the former prime minister in his blog, chedet.cc. “What I know is that one scholarship was given to a music student. It’s impossible that the scholarship cost RM38 billion?……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Mubadala launches 24 hour healthcare phone service

Posted on 14 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Mubadala Healthcare, a business unit of Abu Dhabi investment and development company, Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), today announced the opening of Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre, an innovative medical service provider offering expert medical consultations to patients over the phone.
Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre is a joint venture between Mubadala and Switzerland’s leading telemedicine provider, Medgate, with medical teleconsultation services offered exclusively through the National Health Insurance Company, Daman, to its Thiqa and Enhanced plan members………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah’s UEM Environment eyes listing

Posted on 13 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

UEM Environment Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, aims to be listed on Bursa Malaysia within the next five years, said its chief executive officer Khalid Bahsoon.
“Now is the time for some housekeeping as we gear up for the next phase of growth. Ultimately, and subject to the right market conditions, the end-goal is to list the company, hopefully in the next five years. The valuation is being considered and it should be quite similar to other players in the market,” he told The Edge Financial Daily in an interview………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Super fund to look at climate risks

Posted on 23 September 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is backing a global investment study to better assess the risks and and opportunities associated with climate change. The British-based, global investment consulting firm, Mercer, is analysing the investment risks and returns under various climate change scenarios, with the support of global fund managers, including the New Zealand fund.
With total assets under management of $US1.5 trillion the group wants to better understand the scientific and policy issues around climate change and how they will impact investment decision-making now and in the future. The New Zealand fund, which was set up to make investments to help pay for New Zealanders’ future superannuation entitlements, was valued at $26.8 billion at the end of August………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kazakhstan approves program of Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund

Posted on 09 September 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The board of directors approved a program to transform the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund, the press service of the fund said Sept.8. The Board of Directors of Samruk-Kazyna JSC at a meeting under the chairmanship of the prime minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov in Astana endorsed the program of transformation.
The program involves the implementation of the three main objectives: increase of the value of existing assets, portfolio optimization, and improvement of corporate governance,” the statement said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Future Super - The Fossil Fuel Free Super Fund

Posted on 05 September 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

It may be a solar supporter’s and green investor’s dream come true - Australia’s first superannuation fund free of fossil-fuel investments. Ethical investing can be a minefield and given the complexity, it can be one many people understandably choose not try and navigate when it comes to their superannuation.
Future Super may change that. It will not invest in fossil fuel companies or companies that provide services or finance to significant fossil fuel projects. But the no-invest list doesn’t end there - also excluded are investments involved with tobacco, gambling, cruelty to animals, animal exports, slave labour, old growth forest logging, nuclear and uranium projects to name a few………………………………………..Full Article: Source

SOFAZ, UN Working Group on business and human rights discuss cooperation

Posted on 28 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) Shahmar Movsumov met a delegation of the UN Working Group on business and human rights. During the meeting, Movsumov spoke about management of the fund`s resources, its investing activities and projects financed by SOFAZ.
The SOFAZ Executive Director also highlighted the Fund`s activities, as well as issues related to the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Angola SWF to send students to Switzerland as it ‘invests in investing’

Posted on 21 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, the Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), has launched a scholarship scheme for young Angolans to study business management, banking and finance in Switzerland with a view to improving the country’s capacity to invest its oil revenues wisely.
The programme, in partnership with the School of Management and Law of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), will send talented young Angolans to Zurich to undertake “an intensive and exclusive management course with a focus on international business management and banking and finance”, according to a joint ZHAW and FSDEA statement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Super Fund building in lockdown as Gaza protest escalates

Posted on 15 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Police are guarding the New Zealand Superannuation Fund building in downtown Auckland as pro-Palestinian protesters gather outside. ONE News reporter Helen Castles understands six activists are inside and have chained themselves to an office on level 12.
Staff have been told the building is in lockdown. The protesters are chanting ‘Occupy’ and ‘Free Palestine’. Earlier this week there were calls for the Super Fund to drop its shareholding in an Israeli chemical company that produces a lethal chemical allegedly used in fighting in Gaza………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Will Sovereign Wealth Funds Become Activist Shareholders?

Posted on 14 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

There are some concerns as to whether Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) will become activist shareholders because of an equivocation of the term “activist”, notes Harvard Law School Forum. June Rhee, Co-editor of HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation in the recent post dated August 7, 2014 titled: “Sovereign Shareholder Activism: How SWFs Can Engage in Corporate Governance” notes activism is linked to the increasing importance of corporate governance.
The author notes with respect to equity investments in publicly traded firms, there are some concerns that Sovereign Wealth Funds will become ‘activist’ shareholders. The author points out there are primarily two threshold issues that need to be addressed before one develops policy responses to sovereign shareholder activism………………………………………..Full Article: Source

NZ Superannuation fund linked to fighting in Gaza

Posted on 13 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

There are calls for the NZ Superannuation Fund to drop its shareholding in an Israeli chemical company that produces a lethal chemical allegedly used in fighting in Gaza. Labour’s foreign affairs and energy spokesman David Shearer and the Peace Foundation are calling for the NZ Superannuation Fund to immediately drop its shareholding in Israel Chemicals Ltd, a manufacturer of white phosphorus.
NZ Superannuation Fund says they are monitoring the conflict between Israel and Palestine and expect all the companies they invest in to obey international and local laws………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kazakhstan wants to host Tour de France stage

Posted on 06 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan will bid to host a Tour de France stage, Tengrinews reports citing AFP. Nibali’s triumph on the Champs Elysees on Sunday concluded an eight year campaign by his Astana Pro Team — named after the Kazakh capital and funded by the country’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna — to get people talking about the world’s biggest landlocked nation.
“This has been a very successful project, if you took the mathematics, how many times Astana was named in social media and in newspapers and on TV,” said Kairat Kelimbetov, president of Kazakh Cycling, governor of the country’s central bank and a former deputy prime minister……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Super Fund to hold on to Israeli investments

Posted on 05 August 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Superannuation Fund’s rejected the Green Party’s call to divest from Israeli companies - until their country ends its strikes on Gaza. Just over $7 million is invested in 38 Israeli companies and the Super Fund plans to keep it there for now.
It’s investigating one of the companies over its supply of chemical white phosphorous but the rest, it says, are working within Israeli and international law. But the Super Fund says it could review the appropriateness of those investments if the UN or our government orders sanctions or an arms embargo, and a company defies those………………………………………..Full Article: Source

SOFAZ issue over $118 mln for youth education

Posted on 29 July 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Azerbaijan’s state oil fund SOFAZ has allocated more than $118 million for youth education abroad. SOFAZ, an entity that accumulates and manages Azerbaijan’s oil and gas revenues, was established in 1999 with assets worth $271 million.
As of July 1, SOFAZ has allocated about 93 million manats as part of the State Program on education of Azerbaijani youth abroad in 2007-2015, SOFAZ reports………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bigger govt role needed in green finance

Posted on 14 July 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The government can play a more powerful role than capital market in encouraging financial investment flowing into sustainable development businesses, said Gao Xiqing, former president of China Investment Corporation, China’s key sovereign wealth fund.
“The financial sector is overall cautious in investing in environmentally friendly industries,” he said. Many international public relations firms have been lobbying him to invest in environmental protection and non-fossil energy fuels projects since the launch of China’s sovereign wealth fund, said Gao………………………………………..Full Article: Source

GIC invests S$87m in China’s Huaxia Dairy Farm

Posted on 03 July 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A consortium led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity firm Olympus Capital has invested an additional US$106 million (S$132.1 million) in China’s Huaxia Dairy Farm. In a statement on Wednesday (July 2), GIC said it is investing US$70 million (S$87.2 million) in this latest round of funding, while Olympus Capital Asia is putting in US$30 million (S$37.4 million).
Other existing shareholders, including Grand River Capital, are investing the remaining US$6 million (S$7.5 million), it added. Combined with its previous investments, Olympus Capital Asia has now invested US$108 million (S$134.6 million) in the company and is its largest shareholder………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China SWF’s Latest Investment Pick: Agriculture, Food

Posted on 20 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China Investment Corp. (CIC), China’s $650 billion sovereign wealth fund, is shifting some of its allocation to agriculture. “We believe the agriculture sector offers stability, a way of hedging against inflation and a device for spreading risk,” CIC’s CEO Ding Xuedong wrote in the Financial Times.
“We are keen to invest more across the entire value chain—in partnership with governments, multilateral organizations and like-minded institutional investors—in areas that will help to unlock the industry’s potential, increase the food supply and offer attractive returns.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

China’s sovereign wealth fund shifts focus to agriculture

Posted on 18 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China’s sovereign wealth fund is shifting its focus to invest in agriculture and global food supplies in a significant strategic move that reflects the priorities of the country’s new leadership.
In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Ding Xuedong, chairman of China Investment Corp, said the country’s $650bn sovereign wealth fund wants to invest more in agriculture around the world and “across the entire value chain”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil fund may profit from Thai prawn slavery

Posted on 13 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s oil fund may be forced to divest its 250m kroner stake in the Thai food company CP Foods, after the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that the company sources prawns from ships that employ slave labour.
According to Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, the Government Pension Fund of Norway, as the oil fund is known, holds a 0.54 percent stake in the company, making it one of the largest international shareholders………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why Norway needs the courage to lead

Posted on 06 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Nina Jensen, chief executive officer of WWF Norway, explains why Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world, is critically important in tackling climate change. The most important tool to act on climate change in Norway is our sovereign wealth fund - known as the Government Pension Fund Global, or the Oil Fund, valued at over $800bn.
Because of its size and the investment potential, Norway holds high responsibility: it could contribute to redefining investments globally and, by doing so, to moving the dial on climate change………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s wealth fund pulls out of Argentina

Posted on 26 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $870 billion sovereign wealth fund, one of the world’s largest investors, has pulled its investments out of Argentina, a top fund official said on Friday, blaming the government’s protectionist policies there.
Latin America’s No. 3 economy has been struggling to maintain investor confidence following repeated market interventions by President Cristina Fernandez and amid an ongoing legal battle over a massive debt default. Her administration also heavily regulates capital flows and imports. “We have pulled out from Argentina,” Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy chief executive, told a business seminar………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Australia: Our pot of gold for medical research, but who benefits?

Posted on 19 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

One of the big features of the federal budget that intrigued me is the huge medical research future fund. Future funds are mostly known as sovereign funds and are used by many countries; I have often argued that the Norwegian and Alaskan models are the ones we should mimic.
Both those funds are free from political interference and work on the principle of investing the proceeds of non-renewable resources to generate sustainable wealth that contributes to the wellbeing of the citizens of their respective jurisdictions. Every Norwegian is now a crown millioniare and in Alaska, citizens receive an annual tax-free dividend from their fund…………………………………..Full Article: Source

End of oil boom threatens Norway’s welfare model

Posted on 09 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s energy boom is tailing off years ahead of expectations, exposing an economy unprepared for life after oil and threatening the long-term viability of the world’s most generous welfare model.
The Scottish National Party’s argument in favour of independence has centred on the promise that Scotland can replicate the success of Norway’s oil economy, creating a sovereign wealth fund for future generations, while public coffers would be only half as dependent on oil and gas………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hotel boycott grows over Brunei Penal Code

Posted on 07 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The response here to the planned imposition of Islamic law in Brunei, with extreme penalties for adultery and gay sex, has become more pointed in recent days as two Hollywood-related charities moved events from the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.
In a measure of the remarkable speed of the censure movement, the Beverly Hills mayor, Lili Bosse, said she will ask her city’s Council on Tuesday to urge the Brunei Investment Agency to divest itself of the Beverly Hills Hotel, The Wrap reported………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China state investor shifts sights to agribusiness worldwide

Posted on 29 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Agriculture-related businesses worldwide, from farms in South America to dairy factories in the Netherlands, may soon find themselves in the sights of a new mega investor – China Investment Corp. The mainland’s US$480 billion sovereign wealth fund is seeking to diversify its portfolio after it encountered hurdles while attempting to invest in other sectors, including real estate and technology, sources said.
CIC has been reviewing opportunities this year to invest in agriculture-related businesses, a field in which it has shown less interest in the past, people with a working relationship with the Beijing-headquartered firm said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norway hands SWF ethical investment responsibilities to central bank

Posted on 09 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norwegian finance ministry has adopted a report recommending changes to the way the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – is run, including giving more power over its ethical investment policy to the fund managers at the Norwegian central bank.
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the arm of Norges Bank that runs the fund, will then be responsible for deciding which companies to exclude from its investments on ethical grounds. It will also be expected to report regularly on the scale of its investments in renewable energy and in emerging markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Jensen defends oil fund changes

Posted on 08 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen rejected criticisms the government’s planned changes to the management of the nation’s massive sovereign wealth fund didn’t go far enough to ensure greener, socially responsible investments, saying the “Oil Fund” is a return-oriented investment scheme, and not a environmental or foreign policy tool.
Jensen’s main point was that while the fund aimed to invest responsibly and encourage companies to be good corporate citizens, it always has to focus first and foremost on investments that give the sovereign wealth fund the best possible return………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway fund RE reforms disappoint

Posted on 08 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s government has disappointed green groups by coming up with proposals for using the country’s $790bn oil fund that fall well short of expectations over increased renewables investments.
Although the government mandated the country’s sovereign wealth fund to invest more in environmentally-related stocks, critics say the new government directive does little to increase the actual impact of those investments with regards to renewable energy. Norway announced that stock investments made by the fund will grow from $5bn to about $8.4bn under the new mandate………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway wants to turn its huge oil fund greener

Posted on 07 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Oil-rich Norway moved Friday to target its huge sovereign wealth fund’s investments more closely at boosting green businesses, but environmentalists said the proposals were not strong enough.
In its yearly policy paper on the fund — the world’s largest — the rightwing government also proposed giving the central bank, which manages the fund day-to-day, more power to decide when to disinvest from a company for ethical reasons………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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