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Norwegian oil fund to disclose voting intentions to illustrate 'principle'

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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will publish its voting intentions where it feels the intervention can help illustrate an important principle, rather than focusing on the companies in which it has the largest stakes, according to the head of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM).

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive at NBIM, said the decision to publicise voting intentions was reached independently from a move to double the number of firms in which the NOK6trn (€658bn) Government Pension Fund Global holds a stake larger than 5%.

He said publishing intentions would only be done in certain situations and on a limited basis in 2015.

“It will not be focused on whether we are small or large investors – it will be focused on whether it is a case that illustrates some important principle,” he said.

“It is not a question of our holdings. Yes, we think it is possible we will have more of an impact if we announce our voting in advance, but it is still something we will see how it develops.”

Slyngstad was speaking with IPE after a lecture at the Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance, where he called for more rationality when debating sustainable investment decisions.

He also dismissed the claim NBIM was interested in the acquisition of trophy real estate assets, saying that such a move was not part of the fund’s strategy.

“But it’s right that we have a strategy to invest in core real estate – some of the better office buildings in some of the larger cities of the world,” Slyngstad added.

For more from Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, see the current issue of IPE

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