Norwegian government seeks consultants to advise on responsible investments

Four-year tender as Ministry of Finance seeks to strengthen its resources

Norway’s Finance Ministry is seeking consultants to advise it on responsible investments at its Government Pension Fund.

The ministry has issued an invitation to tender for consultancy services for the fund – which comprises the giant NOK6.4trn (€741bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and its smaller, more domestically focused Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN), which has NOK186bn in assets.

The ministry says it wants to enter into up to three agreements for up to four years to “strengthen the resources available” to it across a range of issues, including responsible investments.

“The individual consultancy assignments may include surveys of other funds, analyses and assessments of risk and expected return in various risk factors and asset classes, risk management issues, and performance analyses,” the 20-page tender document states.

The GPFG is run by Norges Bank Investment Management while the GPFN is managed by the state-owned Folketrygdfondet. “The scope of this tender encompasses both the GPFG and the GPFN,” the government says.It adds: “By virtue of the Fund’s long-term investments in a large number of the world’s companies, we have a responsibility for and an interest in promoting good corporate governance and safeguarding environmental and social concerns. Thus, emphasis is put on the Fund’s role as a responsible investor.”

The deadline for submitting tenders is April 30, with contracts set to be signed on May 21. Tenders will be evaluated based on “price and expertise”.

Elsewhere, investment consultant Towers Watson has appointed Hermes Equity Ownership Services, the engagement business ultimately owned by the BT Pension Scheme, to “advance its stewardship activities”. The firm is Hermes EOS’ first consulting and fiduciary management client.

Emma Hunt, Senior Investment Consultant at Towers Watson, said: “We have long taken the view that we are not passive participants in the investment world. With over $2trn of assets under advice, we believe it is important that we use our influence to change investment for the better.

“Collaborating with other investors is a powerful way to enhance the leverage that we can have, and that is why we have appointed Hermes EOS to undertake market level engagement.”