Top-level panel to review Norwegian pension giant’s responsible investment strategy

Dimson, Kreutzer, Lake et al to report by end-October

A top-level panel has been asked by the Norwegian government to review the NOK3.8trn (€515bn) Government Pension Fund’s responsible investment practices.
The five-strong panel, the Strategy Council 2013, will be led by leading finance academic Elroy Dimson of the London Business School and Cambridge Judge Business School.
The other members of the panel are Idar Kreutzer, the former CEO at Norwegian finance institution Storebrand who now heads trade association Finance Norway, Rob Lake, the Director of Responsible Investment at the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, Hege Sjo, senior advisor at Hermes Fund Managers, and Laura Starks, professor at the University of Texas who is a also a trustee at TIAACREF.
The Council will also consult other experts such as Pavan Sukhdev, the former Deutsche Bank executive who led the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project and who is a new UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador.
The Ministry of Finance has asked the council to report by the end of October.

The report will focus on the “overarching strategy for RI” – building on the work so far and comparisons with other funds. It won’t be an evaluation of Norges Bank’s management of the fund or of the Council on Ethics.
“Our ambition is that the management of the Government Pension Fund shall represent best practice for responsible investment.The mandate given to the new Strategy Council is written with this in mind,” said Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen.

The panel will look at how “collective resources and expertise can best be utilised” to boost responsible investment; and it may recommend “operational and institutional changes” as well.

“The fund shall represent best practice for responsible investment”

“The Council shall evaluate how any gaps between the Fund strategy and international best practice for responsible investment can be closed,” the ministry says. The report will cover both fixed income and equities.
The review follows the departure of Anne Kvam last year from her role as Global Head of Ownership Policy at the manager of the fund, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM).
The fund has faced academic criticism over its responsible investment stance in the past, which it has countered.

Earlier this month the Ministry excluded two US industrial companies, Babcock & Wilcox and Jacobs Engineering Group, from the fund’s investment universe over their links to nuclear weapons. Link