The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, has substantially expanded its investment in Bangladesh. The fund invested in Bangladeshi stocks for the first time in 2015, the total was a modest 19 million USD. By the end of 2016, the fund’s investment had grown six fold to 112 million USD in 15 Bangladeshi companies on the Dhaka stock exchange.
The significant growth in investments in Bangladesh by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global is very positive. I see this as a confirmation that the Bangladeshi economy is maturing and companies are regarded as promising investments, says Norwegian Ambassador Sidsel Bleken. She adds that investments by the Fund is done on a strictly commercial basis and is not an expression of political preferences or decisions. The Fund has clear expectations of companies in areas such as corporate governance, shareholder rights, social issues and the environment. The guidelines for investments are made by the Norwegian parliament but the day to day management is not influenced by politicians.
The Ambassadors also points out that global investors like the Pension Fund are looking for a stable and predictable business environment. The Government of Bangladesh needs to continue to create a level playing field where companies are treated on an equal basis, says Sidsel Bleken.
The total market value of investments done by the Government Pension Fund Global, better known as the Norwegian Oil fund, is close to 900 billion USD. The fund was established in 1990 and is built up by revenue from oil- and gas activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. The fund is managed by an entity under the National Bank of Norway.
The Government Pension Fund Global is saving for future generations in Norway. One day the oil will run out, but the return on the fund will continue to benefit the Norwegian population. In that respect, it is the world’s largest piggybank. The fund owns stock in 9000 companies in 77 countries. It owns 1.3 percent of all public listed stocks worldwide. To avoid pressure on the domestic economy all investments by the fund are made outside Norway.