NORWAY - Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has appointed Espen Klitzing, 43, to the newly created position of chief financial officer.

"One of his responsibilities will be to look at alternative asset classes," NBIM's chief executive Knut Kjær told IPE. NBIM manages the assets of the NOK2trn (€246bn) Norwegian Government State Pension Fund - Global, formerly the Petroleum Fund.

Kjær said that real estate would probably be the first alternative asset class to be considered. He added that he could not say how much the fund would invest as this was one of the points to be discussed by Klitzing and his team.

Last September Norway's finance ministry denied media reports of an imminent move to invest 8-10% of the pension fund's assets into real estate. The ministry said that a move into real estate "just isn't a priority" for the pension fund and that a decision on the subject would not be made until spring 2007.

Klitzing joins NBIM from Petrojarl ASA, one of the largest operators of floating production storage in Norway where as CEO he led the company to its IPO. Before that he was CEO at Storebrand Livsforsiking, a provider for pension and insurance products. 

"We had an international recruiting process and Klitzing came out as very, very qualified for this position," Kjær explained. He added that NIBM has created the position of CFO because "of the increased size and complexity of our operations we wanted to strengthen the management capacity".

This year Norges Bank will also be looking into opening an office in Asia, Shanghai being one of the options, a spokesperson told IPE.