OSLO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Norway’s new oil fund chief takes office on Tuesday, gaining responsibility for the country’s $1.2 trillion national savings after months of public scrutiny of his private wealth and connections.
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) runs the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, owning 1.5% of globally listed stocks and vast portfolios of bonds and real estate, giving it an influential voice in global finance.
The announcement in March that hedge fund veteran Nicolai Tangen would become a civil servant in charge of NBIM, while maintaining a 43% stake in London-based AKO Capital, set off a political storm in Norway over potential conflicts of interest.
Forced by parliament to choose between his life’s work - AKO - and what he said was his dream job, Tangen last week agreed to donate his AKO stake to a charitable foundation, clearing a path to the oil fund chief executive position.
“I want to be CEO of the oil fund, and have only one objective: creating wealth for future generations,” Tangen said at the time.
Tangen estimated the value of his forfeited hedge fund holdings at some 10 billion crowns, or $1.14 billion. He also agreed to sell off private investments, and said that left him with about 7 billion crowns in cash in personal bank accounts.
Instead, he is contracted to work the standard 37.5-hour Norwegian work week, with a 30-minute break for lunch, for an annual salary of 6.65 million crowns ($760,000). He serves a five-year term, renewable once.
While the salary is high compared with most public positions, Tangen will be paying far more in annual wealth tax after moving back to his native Norway from Britain.
Saving petroleum revenue for future generations, the fund owns stakes in 9,200 companies and has grown from nothing in 1996 to a value of around three times that of Norway’s annual gross domestic product, or $217,000 for each Norwegian. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Andrew Heavens)
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