May 4, 2018 / 7:01 AM / in a year

Norway's $1 trillion fund says high return is key objective

FILE PHOTO - Norwegian sovereign wealth fund (SWF) CEO Yngve Slyngstad attends a working session during the One Planet Summit at the Seine Musicale center in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, continues to seek high returns regardless of its other objectives, its chief executive told an annual hearing in parliament on Friday.

The fund invests the revenue of Norway’s oil and gas production into stocks, bonds and real estate abroad.

“We manage the financial wealth of future generations in a controlled, efficient, responsible and transparent manner. But we will never lose sight of the fact that the objective is a high return,” CEO Yngve Slyngstad said.

In 2017, the government raised its target for the fund’s equity portfolio to 70 percent of assets from 62.5 percent, while cutting back on investments in fixed income securities.

The fund, managed by a unit of the central bank, should thus boost its returns, Norges Bank Governor Oeystein Olsen told the parliamentary hearing, while reiterating earlier statements that the value of investments was likely to fluctuate.

“Based on historical experience, it can be assumed that equities will make substantial contributions to returns over time. At the same time, we must be prepared to deal with volatility in the fund’s value in the coming years,” he added.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen repeated her view that the fund should refrain from investing in unlisted shares, except for companies that have presented plans to list in the near future.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Camilla Knudsen/David Evans

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