Just over six months into the job, Nicolai Tangen, who took over as CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) last September from Yngve Slyngstad, has already revised the asset manager’s strategy plan for this year and next.

The head office of Norges Bank is located on Bankplassen in Oslo

The head office of Norges Bank is located on Bankplassen in Oslo

The firm, which is in charge of managing the NOK11trn (€1.1trn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, is focusing on optimising processes, technology and staff development.

Tangen, a former hedge fund manager, saw his appointment raise eyebrows from various industry professionals in Norway before he started his new position last September, questioning how he would transfer his skills to a benchmark-guided fund.

According to the firm’s new strategy plan for 2021-22, GPFG has already made an agreement to buy 50% of the Borssele 1 & 2 offshore wind farm, the world’s second-biggest offshore windfarm, from Denmark’s Ørsted. It also plans to become more aggressive selling stocks that it expects to decline in value, especially those with vulnerable or less transparent accounting.

Tangen claimed to bring experience in forensic accounting into the job and gave the example of how the fund navigated the Wirecard investment well.

He stressed, however, that the new strategy is not his own work, but a product of broad consultation within NBIM.

Last November, Tangen began a campaign of talking directly to students and other potential recruits in order to fulfil his vision of a more diverse workforce in the 500-strong organisation. The new plan confirms this renewed investment in people, especially in graduate students just about to start their professional careers in a post-pandemic environment.

“The idea behind the oil fund is precisely that. In a post-pandemic world there are some common features that robust companies with a long-term focus should consider: it is all about technology, sustainability, good management, and the composition and knowledge among the employees,” he said at a recent NHH symposium.

A potential positive outcome out of this gloomy crisis could be an “outburst of creativity”, as he put it.

Venilia Amorim, editor, IPE.com