On May 22, 2024, Pedro Furtado Reis and Daniel Balthasar, co-Chief Investment Officers of Equities at Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), received from Diego López, Founder and Managing Director of Global SWF, the physical award “Fund of the Year 2023” in Central London.

Since 2020, the New York-headquartered consultancy and data specialist has been recognizing the work of State-Owned Investors globally on merits around governance, sustainability, and financial performance, among other criteria. The 2020 award was granted to Saudi Arabia’s PIF and received by Deputy Governor Yazeed Al Humied, the 2021 prize went to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala as received by Chief Strategy & Risk Officer Ahmed Al Calily, and the 2022 recognition was granted to Canada’s CDPQ and received by CEO Charles Emond. The 2023 recognition for NBIM read:

“For its 25+ years of global investing and stewardship, for its position as one of the world’s largest and most influential universal asset owners, for its significant activity across asset classes and industries in 2023, and, more broadly, for its leadership among Sovereign Wealth Funds and contribution to the advancement of the industry, Global SWF believes that Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), on behalf of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), is a worthy recipient of the 2023 Fund of the Year award.”

NBIM has become the ultimate benchmark of good governance, radical transparency and responsible stewardship among SWFs and other asset owners globally. Its website features a dynamic counter that allows the visitor to know the market value of the fund at any point in time, according to the fluctuations in global financial markets. This is in an industry where the exact AuM of five of the Top 10 SWFs is unknown.

As of March 31, 2024, NBIM managed US$ 1,634 billion in investments. Half of this capital came via net flows from the government and via currency differences. The other half, via investment returns. For the past 25 years, the fund has added value by averaging +6.3% nominal return, or +4.0% net real return.

NBIM recently pitched the introduction to Private Equity in its portfolio to the Norwegian parliament, which according to Mr. Balthasar and Mr. Furtado Reis “would be a natural evolution for NBIM, and one that would allow NBIM to capture opportunities that it is not able to now.” Unfortunately, the Norwegian parliament dismissed the recommendation, although it has not ruled it out forever.

Meanwhile, the fund continues to make strides in responsible investing. In 2023, it invested over US$ 1 billion in renewable energy, it placed nine entities under exclusion or observation for their non-ethical conducts, it published updated expectations to companies on climate and a global framework to tackle nature-related financial risk, and it committed to lead investors’ action related to Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)’s Collapse.

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