NORWAY- Norges Bank Investment Management, overseer of the$75bn (e75bn) Norwegian petroleum fund has announced equity RFPs worth a combined $600m with the initial tender being run through the IPE-Quest electronic manager selection system at

Norges Bank is looking to place approximately $400m within the telecom services industry and is asking those managers that applied to a similar mandate last year to reapply. The telecoms mandate is active equity with an average tracking error against the benchmark, which will be based on the FTSE world index series, of 5%.

As with many of Norges’ previous mandates, the final details are often influenced by the type of applications received. No decision has been taken on whether they will be global or regional and managers are being asked to state which, if either, they tend to specialise in. The mandates will be in the region of $200m.

Norges is in addition looking to invest over $200m in the financials sector in the pacific region and, again, managers who applied for a similar tranche last year are invited to reapply.

Like the telecoms mandate, the Financials is an active equity approach with a 5% tracking error from the benchmark which will be based on the FTSE world index and will cover Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

The mandates to be awarded are part of the so-called sector strategies approach within NBIM Equity. The petroleum find started out by awarding regional mandates but a vast and continuous flow if assets has forced it to move towards sector and small cap mandates.

Last year NBIM appointed Crédit Agricole Asset Management, Citicorp Asset Management, Franklin Advisors, Dresdner RCM and Wellington Management Company to run a series of external equity mandates in the financial, health and pharmaceuticals and IT sectors.

These mandates awarded within this approach are considered as specialist and aiming to explore stock specific risk to add value to the overall portfolio. All external NBIM mandates are managed on a segregated basis.

Norges has issued a string of RFPs due to continual surpluses from the country’s oil industry. Inflows to the fund totalled $24bn last year according to figures from the revised national budget for 2001.

The deadline for applications for the latest funds is 24th September. Further information is available on Norges Bank’s website