Norway Lawmakers Win Review on Wealth Fund Infrastructure Push

Norway’s parliament demanded further study on whether the country’s $850 billion sovereign wealth fund should invest in infrastructure and recommended it start a review of its expectations for investments listed in tax havens.

“It’s very positive that we’ve managed to move the government from wanting to close the door entirely to agreeing to a step forward” on infrastructure, Torstein Tvedt Solberg, a lawmaker for the opposition Labor Party, said by telephone on Monday.

The recommendations were made unanimously by the Finance Committee in a comment to a government white paper released last month. The two-party minority government had in that paper decided against expanding into infrastructure. It has also rejected any changes to how the fund invests in companies based in tax havens.

The investor has been lobbying to expand its mandate beyond stocks and bonds and proposed in December that it be allowed to invest as much as 5 percent in infrastructure as it seeks to boost returns. In 2010, it was freed to invest 5 percent of its assets in real estate and it has since built a $28 billion portfolio of high-profile properties from Paris to London and New York.

The government in its April paper rejected the plea to invest in infrastructure, citing among other things “high regulatory or political risk.”

The committee also asked the fund to review its placing of subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Delaware and come back with proposals in next year’s white paper, according to Tvedt Solberg.

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