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Norway

Transparency in the Management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF) (NO0035)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2013-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance and Norges Bank (Norway´s Central Bank)

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Private Sector

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway End-of-Term Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Transparency is also a central principle in the management of the Government Pension
Fund (GPF). The GPF comprises the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and
the Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN) which are both instruments for general
savings on the part of the State. The Ministry of Finance has the overall responsibility
for the management of the two funds and submits a white paper on this every year.
These reports can be found on the Norwegian Government website.
The operational management of the GPFG and the GPFN are carried out by Norges
Bank and the National Insurance Scheme Fund respectively. The National Insurance
Scheme Fund’s reporting on the management of the GPFN (available at
http://www.ftf.no/en/home.aspx) is similar to the following description of the
reporting on Norges Bank’s management of the GPFG.
Norges Bank reports quarterly and annually on the management of the Fund. The
reports are published on the website http://www.nbim.no/en/. The intention of
openness lies implicit in the investment mandate, and it is explicitly mentioned in the
mandate that the reports shall be based on the greatest possible degree of transparency
within the limits defined by a sound execution of the investment mandate.
There are more than 7000 companies in the Fund’s portfolio. A full list of the Fund’s
holdings is published on the website once a year in connection with the Fund’s annual
report. Also the current value of the Fund is posted continuously on this website.
Further, Norges Bank informs about its vote in the various companies, right down to
how it votes in individual matters. It also reports on dialogues with individual
companies on corporate governance issues.

Norges Bank has recently decided to make voting results publicly available on its
website one business day after the conclusion of the general meeting.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

23. Transparency in the management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF)

Commitment Text:

Transparency is also a central principle in the management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF). The GPF comprises the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and the Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN) which are both instruments for general savings on the part of the State. The Ministry of Finance has the overall responsibility for the management of the two funds and submits a white paper on this every year. […]

Norges Bank reports quarterly and annually on the management of the Fund […]

Parliament has appointed the Supervisory Council of Norges Bank. The Supervisory Council supervises the Bank’s operations and ensures that the Bank is compliant with the rules governing the Bank’s activities, including the management of the GPFG. […]

Companies shall be excluded from the investment universe of the Fund, pursuant to the guidelines for the Fund, if they are involved in production or undertakings that imply an unacceptably high risk that the company contributes to grossly unethical activities. The exclusion mechanism is handled by the Ministry of Finance after receiving recommendations from a separate body, the Council on Ethics. Information on the work of the Council is made public, as are the Council’s recommendations to the Ministry of Finance which is published when the Ministry of Finance has reached a decision […]

commitment description
Norges Bank has recently decided to make voting results publicly available on its website one business day after the conclusion of the general meeting.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institution(s): Norges Bank (Norway`s central bank)

Start date: Unclear            End date: Unclear

Editorial note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For the full text of the commitment, please see http://bit.ly/1QlVIja.

Policy Aim
This commitment aims to promote access to information regarding decision making in the management of Norway’s national pension fund. The national pension fund is a public good of significant interest to the general public and subject to political and financial investment decisions on a regular basis. Decisions by the bank to exclude companies from that investment fund, especially on ethical grounds, have been of particular salience in Norwegian public debate.[Note 130: Kristian Skårdalsmo, ”Slaget om Etikkrådet til Stortinget,” Dagsavisen, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.dagsavisen.no/innenriks/slaget-om-etikkradet-til-stortinget-1.283149. ] The IRM researcher was not able to identify a specific problem that this commitment sought to address despite desk research and correspondence with focal points for the commitment.[Note 131: Lill-Solrun Ryddheim Dahlin (Senior Adviser, Ministry of Finance), email correspondence with Christopher Wilson, August 2016. ]
Status

Mid-term: Complete
This commitment was complete at the mid-term. Norges Bank makes voting results from general assembly meetings available online through their website (http://www.nbim.no/en/the-fund/holdings/). A search by the IRM researcher of the website revealed that some voting records were available which fulfilled the commitment of making voting results publically available. For more information, please see IRM Progress Report 2013-2014.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

The publication of voting records is a positive step towards greater transparency for any government institution. However, it is not clear that this particular instance provides any additional useful information about exclusions from government pension funds because the recommendations from the Norwegian Ethical Council and Finance Department, on which Norges Bank’s divestment voting is based, are already public.

The website in question is, moreover, difficult to use. The primary search and browsing functionality is oriented around specific companies and includes a button for “voting.” For the majority of the companies tested by the IRM researcher, this button led to a page declaring that no voting information was available. The ministry focal point described this as a technical challenge and noted that complete voting records were nonetheless available at https://www.nbim.no/en/responsibility/voting-records/. When attempting to access this website, the IRM researcher reached a page indicating that the site was not accessible to the public.

The IRM researcher has not been able to confirm the publication of all the information described in this commitment, nor any impact that the commitment has had on government practice. It is worth noting, however, that if this had been the case at the point of the mid-term evaluation, the commitment would likely not have been coded as complete. It remains unclear to the IRM researcher to what extent the inability to access relevant information is due to temporary technical failures or more significant challenges within the Ministry of Finance.

Carried forward?

This commitment has not been carried forward in the Norwegian government’s third national action plan, which is available on the OGP website.[Note 132: ”Norway’s third action plan Open Government Partnership (OGP),” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Norway_2016-17_NAP.pdf.%5D


Norway's Commitments

  1. Archiving Documents

    NO0054, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Making Energy Statistics Available

    NO0055, 2019, E-Government

  3. e-Access and Expansion

    NO0056, 2019, Civic Space

  4. Open Cultural Data

    NO0057, 2019, E-Government

  5. Digital Spatial Planning

    NO0058, 2019, E-Government

  6. Streamline Public Procurement

    NO0059, 2019, E-Government

  7. Preventing Corruption

    NO0060, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NO0061, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  9. User Orientation

    NO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Electronic Public Records (OEP)

    NO0046, 2016, E-Government

  11. Transparency Regarding Environmental Information

    NO0047, 2016, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Disclosure of Financial Data

    NO0048, 2016, E-Government

  13. Transparency Regarding Rainforest Funds

    NO0049, 2016, E-Government

  14. State Employees’ Ownership of Shares

    NO0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Promote Freedom of Expression and Independent Media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  16. Country-By-Country Reporting

    NO0052, 2016, Extractive Industries

  17. Register for Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Public Review and Public Consultation

    NO0020, 2013, Capacity Building

  19. Registering and Preserving Digital Documentation Produced by Public Bodies

    NO0021, 2013, E-Government

  20. The Norwegian Citizen Survey (Innbyggerundersøkelsen)

    NO0022, 2013, Public Participation

  21. Whistleblowing

    NO0023, 2013, Whistleblower Protections

  22. Strengthened Information Exchange for More Efficient Crime Prevention and Combating

    NO0024, 2013, Justice

  23. Strengthening the Transparency of Public Authorities and Administration

    NO0025, 2013, Capacity Building

  24. Egovernment with an End-User Focus

    NO0026, 2013, E-Government

  25. Plain Legal Language

    NO0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  26. Norwegian Grants Portal (MFA)

    NO0028, 2013, Aid

  27. An International Convention or Agreement on Financial Transparency

    NO0029, 2013, Private Sector

  28. Reducing Conflicts of Interests – Post-Employment Regulations

    NO0030, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  29. Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector

    NO0031, 2013, Security

  30. A Better Overview of Committees, Boards and Councils – More Public Access to Information and Better Opportunities for Further Use

    NO0032, 2013, E-Government

  31. Modernizing Public Governance

    NO0033, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues

    NO0034, 2013, Extractive Industries

  33. Transparency in the Management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF)

    NO0035, 2013, E-Government

  34. Transparency and Anti-Corruption Efforts

    NO0036, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. The Municipal Sector

    NO0037, 2013, Education

  36. “Simplify” (“Enkelt Og Greit”)

    NO0038, 2013, E-Government

  37. Electronic Public Records (OEP) – (Offentlig Elektronisk Postjournal)

    NO0039, 2013, E-Government

  38. Re-Use of Public Sector Information (PSI)

    NO0040, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Access to Health Data

    NO0041, 2013, E-Government

  40. Renewal of the Government’S Website (Regjeringen.No – Government.No)

    NO0042, 2013, E-Government

  41. Declaration of Principles for Interaction and Dialogue with NGOs

    NO0043, 2013, Capacity Building

  42. Simplification and Digital Administration of Arrangements for NGOs

    NO0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  43. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0001, 2011, Capacity Building

  44. Measures to Promote Gender Equality and Women’S Full Participation in Civic Life, the Private Sector, the Public Administration and Political Processes.

    NO0002, 2011, Gender

  45. Gender Equality – Participation in the Private Sector

    NO0003, 2011, Gender

  46. Increase Women's Representation in Local Government

    NO0004, 2011, Gender

  47. Gender Equality Program

    NO0005, 2011, Gender

  48. Gender Equality – Inclusion of Immigrant Women

    NO0006, 2011, Gender

  49. Gender Equality – Combat Gender Stereotypes

    NO0007, 2011, Gender

  50. Gender Equality – Youth Initiatives

    NO0008, 2011, Gender

  51. Gender Equality – Combat Domestic Violence

    NO0009, 2011, Gender

  52. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency

    NO0010, 2011, Aid

  53. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Government Global Pension Fund

    NO0011, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  54. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Combat Tax Evasion

    NO0012, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  55. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Multi-National Companies

    NO0013, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  56. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Create Central Communication Policy

    NO0014, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  57. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0015, 2011, E-Government

  58. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Public Data Use

    NO0016, 2011, Public Participation

  59. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Statistic Publication

    NO0017, 2011, Open Data

  60. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Public Opinion Survey

    NO0018, 2011, Records Management

  61. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0019, 2011, Public Participation