NORWAY- Norway’s $75bn Petroleum fund has announced the appointment of Lincoln Capital Management, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and State Street Global advisors to run indexed fixed income, mortgage-backed securities in the US.

Norges Bank Investment Management, which oversees the fund’s assets, is not disclosing the size of the mandates until publication of the annual report at the end of the year. However, the fund’s smallest mandates tend to start at around e200m.

When the fund announced a series of fixed income RFPs at the end of last year, it suggested it was looking for 14 managers to look after anything between $5bn and $8bn.

A Norges Bank spokeswoman says they have produced a shortlist of managers for US enhanced indexed mortgage-backed securities. NBIM says it is likely to have made the decision and distributed the assets in the next few weeks.

The appointments of Lincoln, Merrill Lynch and State Street are the latest in a string of external manager hirings. 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.

Last week it issued RFPs for three mandates worth a combined $600 for specialist sectoral mandates and in May it announced a $5.5bn equities RFP.

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