The chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), manager of Norway’s NOK5.5trn (€674bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), has revealed details of his personal equity investments after criticism over transparency and a warning of perceived conflicts of interest.

Norway’s national broadcaster NRK put out a report on Tuesday saying NBIM chief executive Yngve Slyngstad had invested NOK600,000 in shares of the airline Norwegian, and in which two academics criticised the fund’s management.

The report said the GPFG, which only invests outside Norway, had holdings in two other airlines, SAS and Ryanair. 

Petter Gottschalk, professor at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo and expert of economic crime, was quoted as saying: “Slyngstad’s private stock trading arouses suspicion that he could make money on the oil fund’s trading … personally, as well. This is unfortunate in a position of such trust.”

He said any head of the GPFG should not buy shares personally.

Tina Søreide, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bergen and an expert on corruption, told NRK that while she did not believe Slyngstad should be prevented from buying shares, there should be more openness around his trading.

“It is something that can weaken confidence in the management of the oil fund,” she said. “It is really important to know what a person with so much influence is being affected by.”

The report also cited two other academics who were uncritical of Slyngstad and the fund’s management.

NBIM published Slyngstad’s personal share holdings in a list later on the same day.

An NBIM spokeswoman said: “Slyngstad decided to make his holdings public because his position as CEO suggests a higher degree of transparency than for other employees.”

The firm put out a full list of his stock holdings and annual trading since he took on the position as chief executive in 2008.

“We have comprehensive guidelines and reporting for equity savings, so that there can’t be any doubt our employees act in a good and responsible way,” the NBIM spokeswoman said, adding that Slyngstad was subject to the same comprehensive guidelines. 

“Restrictions for NBIM employees include a one-year lock-in period after the acquisition of financial instruments,” she said.

NBIM revealed that Slyngstad owns shares in 15 companies: Statoil, Telenor, Norsk Hydro, Yara, Cermaq, Orkla, Schibsted, Aker, Norske Skog, Wilh Wilhelmsen, Golar LNG, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Opera Software.

The value of his share purchases was NOK86,608 in 2010, NOK 239,476 in 2009 and NOK 1.3m in 2008, NBIM said.

He sold NOK100,644 of shares in 2012, but did not sell shares in any other year between 2008 and 2014 inclusive, it revealed.