Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway and head of the country’s $1.09 trillion sovereign wealth fund, is stepping down from the post he’s held for the past 12 years. Slyngstad will remain in his position until a new CEO can assume the role.
“I am proud of having been part of building up a leading international investment organization with talented and professional employees,” Slyngstad said in a statement. “We have delivered good returns for the best of our nation.”
The Government Pension Fund Global recently surpassed 10 trillion kroner ($1.09 trillion) in asset value for the first time in its history.
“The executive board is very satisfied with the management of the fund under Yngve Slyngstad’s leadership,” said Øystein Olsen, chair of the fund’s executive board. “Yngve Slyngstad has been a distinct leader of Norges Bank Investment Management and developed a leading and global investment organization.”
The executive board will launch a search for a new CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management. The fund said that after a new CEO is installed Slyngstad will continue in the fund and will contribute to the further development of the investment strategy. His responsibilities will include building up unlisted renewable energy infrastructure as a new investment area.
The fund also reported that its investment portfolio returned 1.6% during the third quarter of the year, which was in line with the return on its benchmark index. As of the end of the quarter the fund had a market value of 9.742 trillion kroner and had an allocation of 69.1% in equities, 28.2% in fixed income, and 2.8% in unlisted real estate (figures add up to 100.1% due to rounding). [Source 2]
Fixed-income investments were the top performing asset class for the fund during the quarter, returning 2.36%. Unlisted real estate and equity investments returned 1.56% and 1.27% respectively.
“Equity returns were positive despite relatively weak data for global industrial activity during the quarter,” said the fund in its quarterly report. “Actual and expected monetary easing in the US and the euro area, as well as a substantial drop in long-term interest rates, probably boosted global equity prices.”
North American stocks returned 2.9% and accounted for 42.3% of the equity portfolio. US stocks, which were the fund’s single-largest market with 40% of its equity investments, returned 2.9%, or 1.2% in local currency.
European shares were flat for the quarter and accounted for 33% of the fund’s equities. The UK, which was the fund’s largest European market with 8.5% of its equity investments, declined 0.2%, or 1.3% in local currency. Stocks in Asia and Oceania returned 0.8% and made up 22.0% of the fund’s equity investments. Japanese stocks returned 4.9%, or 3.4% in local currency, and accounted for 8.6% of equity investments.
The fund’s top 10 equity holdings are Microsoft, Apple, Nestle, Alphabet, Amazon, Royal Dutch Shell, Roche, Novartis, Facebook, and Berkshire Hathaway.
The fund also voted at 1,332 general meetings during the quarter. It considered and voted on 11,040 proposals. It had more than 700 meetings with companies during the quarter and raised governance or sustainability issues at half of those meetings.
“The most important issues we raised concerned corporate governance, climate change and other environmental issues, social issues, board composition, and executive pay,” the fund said.