Unease around the appointment of Nicolai Tangen as the leader of Norges Bank Investment Management remains even after the sovereign wealth fund finalized its contract with the incoming chief executive last month.
Last week, the supervisory board at Norges Bank told Norway’s supreme legislature that it should evaluate the agreement between the central bank and the former hedge fund manager, as well as include further control measures to prevent conflicts of interest.
But Norges Bank Governor Øystein Olsen said the contract is “sufficient” in reducing the distance between the sovereign wealth fund and Tangen’s personal finances. Tangen previously led AKO Capital, which he founded and is one of the best-regarded hedge funds in Europe.
“Mechanisms are established which ensure that Tangen will have no influence on his fund investments for as long as he is employed by Norges Bank, and which prevent possible conflicts of interest and impartiality,” Olsen said in a statement.
Soon after Tangen was announced as former chief executive Yngve Slyngstad’s successor in March, a Norwegian newspaper reported that Slyngstad took part in a private seminar Tangen hosted months before at the University of Pennsylvania. This news led to a public outcry about cronyism around his appointment, allegations Norges Bank has denied.
Before Tangen starts in September, he will be required by Norges Bank to step down from all directorships from his hedge fund, AKO. The hedge fund is also expected to change the composition of its board, so the majority of members no longer have close ties with Tangen.
A trustee will exercise Tangen’s voting rights at the hedge fund, which will also be reduced to 43% and are not allowed to go above 45%. All dividends from the period of his ownership will be donated to the hedge fund’s foundation.
Additionally, his personal wealth will be managed by Gabler Investments, which runs money for 64 Norwegian pension funds under a discretionary mandate. A proxy will ensure that Tangen does not know what he is invested in.