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Norway's oil fund starts to freeze out Russia

Norway is starting a process to remove Russian assets from its USD 1.3trn sovereign wealth fund, in a rare case of politics steering investments for the country’s savings.

Ringo Chiu/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

The Norwegian government has decided to freeze Russian holdings in the fund in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine and plans to divest them in due course, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters in Oslo on Sunday. Norges Bank Investment Management held about NOK 25bn (USD 2.8bn) at the end of the year, Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said.

The Oslo-based fund is the world’s biggest owner of publicly traded companies with a portfolio of about 9,000 stocks. The government made its decision despite Chief Executive Officer Nicolai Tangen on Friday describing such a move as a “wrapped gift to the oligarchs” who would buy the shares.

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