Norway's government oil fund, the NOK425bn (EUR54bn) Statens Petroleumsfond, is venturing into non-government bonds for the first time next year and may also be restructuring its equity portfolio.
The Norwegian Ministry of finance approved the bond move in its revised national budget for 2001.
Norges Bank Investment Management, which handles the account, said that the amount to be transferred into the new bond portfolio was up for discussion but assets would be taken from additional government transfers of about NOK217bn in 2001.
Sibjorn Atle Berg head of business administration and personnel at the investment house said that the fund would be gradually phasing in the move in the first quarter of 2002.
He added that the fund “might” be looking for an external manager to handle the brief at a later date.
It is expected that the portfolio will be benchmarked against either the Salomon Smith Barney’s World BIG [broad-investment grade] Index, Lehman’s Global Aggregate Index or the Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index.
According to Berg, the fund may also be revewing its equity brief: “The revised national budget also mentioned that the ministry will look into the share of equities portfolio which is currently 40%.” He declined to provide further details.
*The Statens Petroleumsfond is a 'buffer' fund set up by the Norwegian government to cover government deficit including any future pensions liabilities.
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