NORWAY - Assets in the Norwegian Government Pension Fund have almost reached the NOK2trn (€250bn) mark at end-June, leading to the appointment of six new managers.

The NOK1.939trn pension fund, which is fuelled from the country's petrol revenues, awarded specialist US fixed income mandates to Hyperion Brookfield Asset Management Inc, TCW Asset Management Company and Putnam Advisory Company LLC in the second quarter.

Wellington Management Company LLP, Janus Capital Management LLC and Tradewinds NWQ Global Investors LLC were awarded regional equity mandates.

Year-on-year, the fund has grown NOK434bn or 29%.

And because of the constant massive increase in assets, the fund's manager Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has two permanent invitations to tenders for equity and fixed income managers on its homepage.

Despite awarding new mandates, the percentage of the fund's equity portfolio managed externally has slightly decreased following a decision made earlier this year to hike the exposure from 40% to 60%.

Approximately 64% of the fund's NOK819.5bn equity portfolio is currently managed internally by NBIM, up from 62% last year while 90% of the fixed income exposure is managed internally, the same percentage as last year.

The fund returned 3.7% in the first six months of 2007, an improvement on last year when returns for the same period were at 0.69%, brought down by market turbulences in the second quarter.

For the second quarter 2007, new capital equivalent to NOK67.5bn was transferred to the fund by the government. There was also a return on investment of NOK41.7bn, "while a stronger krone in relation to the investment currencies decreased the value of the fund by NOK45.9bn", NBIM said in its second quarter report.

It also noted the fund was still looking into possible investments into real estate or private equity in the near future.