March 22, 2017

Whether Norway Fund should be free to invest without government intrusion is not really the most important question

Sir, I refer to Richard Milne’s discussion of how imposed investment limitations caused the Sovereign investor to miss out on billions of dollars over past decade, “Ethical stance crimps Norway oil fund” March 22.

The real question is: if Norwegians had been allowed to decide on their own per capita share of the net oil revenues, like for instance spending it now or picking their own investment advisors, would they have been better off or not? Long term, I believe they would.

What now exist are some millions of Norwegian expecting to be recipients of whatever the central managed oil revenues can provide them, without having had to take any responsibilities for it. By allowing a Fund to manage it all, Norwegian have missed a great learning opportunity, and have less idea about where all oil revenue came from, and where all oil revenues went.

If something goes wrong with the Fund, something that can always happen, they will show little understanding. Also, the sole existence of a huge amount of centralized savings is something that can attract the attention of dangerous redistribution profiteers/populists.

I recently sent a similar letter, also commenting on the Norwegian Fund. Seemingly that Fund is a fund that shall not be questioned, too much, at least not by FT.