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Government Pension Fund of Norway


The Government Pension Fund of Norway, also known as the Oil Fund, is a sovereign wealth fund owned by the government of Norway. It was established to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector. It is the largest pension fund in the world and primarily invested in international equities, bonds, and real estate.


ˈɡʌvərnmənt ˈpɛnʃən fʌnd ʌv ˈnɔrweɪ

Key Takeaways

  1. The Government Pension Fund of Norway, often referred to as the “Norwegian Oil Fund,” is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, with assets surpassing over 1 trillion dollars. It was created to securely manage the surplus revenue from the Norwegian petroleum sector.
  2. One of the primary strategic intentions of the fund is to provide long-term considerations for Norway’s oil wealth by investing both in domestic and global markets. The fund has very strict policies for these investments, and typically this includes a combination of equities, real estate, and fixed-income investments.
  3. The management of the fund is split between the Norwegian Ministry of Finance and the Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM). The Ministry determines the fund’s investment strategy, and the NBIM, a branch of Norway’s central bank, executes investment and operational activities. Transparency, ethics, and good corporate governance are the core principles that guide the fund’s operations.


The Government Pension Fund of Norway is significant in the world of business and finance due to its status as one of the largest sovereign wealth funds globally. Managed by Norges Bank Investment Management, the fund is primarily fuelled by the country’s petroleum income, functioning to invest the nation’s oil wealth in a diverse portfolio of international financial markets, including equities, fixed income and real estate. This responsible fiscal strategy helps to stabilize the country’s economy and maintain its long-term financial sustainability against potential future declines in oil revenue. The fund’s sheer size and investment influence it has globally underline its importance in the international financial landscape.


The Government Pension Fund of Norway, often referred to as the Norwegian Oil Fund, is a sovereign wealth fund that is primarily intended to support the government’s long-term management of the country’s petroleum revenue. The fund became operational in 1996 on the basis of the Government Pension Fund Act, and it is one of the world’s largest funds of its kind. The purpose of the fund is not to finance pensions, as the name might suggest, but to give the Norwegian government room for financial maneuvering in terms of the national budget where the focus is on the effects of the oil revenue on the Norwegian economy.The fund is used in a variety of ways to support the Norwegian economy. Notably, the fund is invested in international assets like real estate, equities, and fixed-income securities, in an effort to diversify the nation’s wealth and reduce the economic impact from fluctuations in oil prices. The government uses the proceeds from these investments to help finance public spending. In essence, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund serves as a stabilization tool that cushions the economy against any potential shocks related to changes in oil and gas prices, while simultaneously allowing Norway to convert petroleum wealth into financial wealth.


1. Management of Investment Portfolio: The Government Pension Fund of Norway is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), responsible for managing the fund’s investment portfolio, which includes about 9,200 companies in 73 countries as of 2021. This is a vast diversification that protects the fund from severe losses in any particular sector or region.2. Investment in Environmental Causes: Another real-world example of the Government Pension Fund of Norway is its contribution towards environmental sustainability. For instance, in 2020, the fund divested from companies that get more than 30 percent of their revenue from thermal coal, reaffirming their commitment towards an environment-friendly investment strategy.3. Influence on Corporate Governance: The Government Pension Fund of Norway often utilizes its financial clout to promote ethical corporate governance. They have emphasized transparency, shareholder rights, and gender equality on corporate boards. For instance, the fund uses its voting rights to influence companies to be more transparent about their use of water, leading to better sustainable practices globally.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Government Pension Fund of Norway?

The Government Pension Fund of Norway, also known as The Oil Fund, is a fund into which the surplus wealth produced by the Norwegian petroleum income is deposited. The fund changed name in January 2006 from The Petroleum Fund of Norway to the Government Pension Fund of Norway.

How is the Government Pension Fund of Norway managed?

The fund is managed by the Norwegian Central Bank, specifically by a separate part of the bank named Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM).

What is the purpose of the Government Pension Fund of Norway?

The purpose of the fund is to invest parts of the large surplus created by the Norwegian petroleum sector, created from taxes of the petroleum sector, ownership of petroleum fields and dividends from a 67% stake in Equinor in order to maintain Norway’s safety net for its aging population.

How much money is in the Government Pension Fund of Norway?

The fund is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. As of the end of June 2021, the fund’s value was NOK 11.3 trillion ($1.3 trillion), but it varies according to a wide range factors including investment returns and oil revenues.

In what assets does the Government Pension Fund of Norway invest?

The fund invests in international equities, bonds, and real estate, seeking to have a diversified investment portfolio. It is restricted by law from investing in Norwegian companies, to avoid overheating the domestic economy.

How does the Government Pension Fund of Norway benefit the citizens of Norway?

The fund supports a wide array of social services and government initiatives in Norway, helping to ensure long-term financial stability for future generations.

Can the Government Pension Fund of Norway be used for any kind of government spending?

Currently, Norwegian law allows for up to 3% of the fund’s assets to be used each year to balance the national budget. This helps to support public services without raising taxes, benefiting both current residents and future generations. However, it’s used judiciously to maintain the fund’s long-term growth.

Can international companies apply for investment from the Government Pension Fund of Norway?

Yes, the fund invests heavily in international markets. However, decisions are made by the Norwegian Central Bank and the fund managers based on a wide range of economic and ethical criteria.

Related Finance Terms

  • Oil Fund
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Norwegian Ministry of Finance
  • Public Pension Plans
  • Sovereign Wealth Fund

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