Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Mark Gilbert

A Hedge Fund Star Fumbles the Best Job in Finance

When the outgoing head of Norway's sovereign wealth fund accepted a free flight from the guy who turned out to be his successor, he opened a can of worms.

Money for nothing?

Money for nothing?

Photographer: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The scandal that’s prompted Norway to review Nicolai Tangen’s appointment to run its $1 trillion wealth fund is embarrassing for all involved. The country’s central bank, which is responsible for the fund and its management, finds itself accused of being less than transparent about how the 53-year-old, a very successful hedge fund manager, got the job when he didn’t feature on the initial list of applicants. Its supervisory council plans to submit questions in writing, following an extraordinary meeting to discuss the affair held on Wednesday.

The fund’s current chief, Yngve Slyngstad, was probably entitled to attend the private seminar Tangen organized at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in November, even though the event did smack of an offsite jolly. The conference for 150 people featured appearances by superstar chef Jamie Oliver, Olympic sailing champion Annie Lush, jazz singer Gregory Porter and none other than Sting. It cost at least $3 million, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on information provided by Tangen. That works out at $20,000 a head — quite a shindig.