- Norway’s $US1 trillion sovereign investment fund said it will invest in the UK regardless of Brexit.
- “We foresee that over time our investments in the UK will increase,” chief executive Yngve Slyngstad told Reuters.
- The Norwegian fund is already a significant investor in the UK, with investments of about 709 billion Norwegian kroner (£62.5 billion; $US83.1 billion).
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is looking beyond the near-term negatives of Brexit and betting on the UK for the future, it said yesterday.
Norges Bank Investment Management – the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, which is worth around $US1 trillion – said Wednesday that it expects to increase its investments in the UK over time, with its CEO pointing to the fact that it takes investment decisions based on a 30-year plus-time horizon.
“We will continue to be significant investors in Britain. We foresee that over time our investments in the UK will increase,” chief executive Yngve Slyngstad told Reuters Wednesday.
“With our time horizon, which is 30 years-plus, current political discussions do not change our view of the situation,” he added, speaking on the day the fund reported a total asset value decline of more than 6% for 2018.
The Norwegian fund is already a significant investor in the UK, with investments totalling around 709 billion Norwegian kroner (£62.5 billion; $US83.1 billion) in the country.
Its annual report showed that roughly 8.5% of its stock portfolio is made up of UK equities. That places the UK as its third largest equity portfolio, behind the US and Japan.
In previous years, the UK has been second on the list, but Slyngstad put this drop down to “a strengthening of the yen against the pound,” Reuters said.
Other investments in the UK besides equities include a large property portfolio in the West End of London, including a 150-year lease on roughly 25% of Regent Street, as well as around £400 million of property on Oxford Street – two of the British capital’s most recognisable shopping streets.
The fund also owns parts of New Bond Street, and properties on Savile Row, the street famous across the world for its tailors.
News of the fund’s future commitment to the UK was seized on by both sides of the debate over the UK’s exit from the EU. According to The Times newspaper, hardline Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “It is a recognition that the freer the market in Britain is the more attractive the country will be to outside investment.”
Anti-Brexit politicians, however, said the fund’s commitment to the UK reflected the low price of UK assets thanks to the post-referendum depreciation of the pound.
“The truth is that British assets are in the global bargain basement,” Chris Leslie, a staunch remain backer, and a member of the newly formed Independent Group of MPs said in The Times.
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