Norway oil ‘close’ to appointing real estate head

Norway’s $300 billion government pension fund, formerly known as the Petroleum Fund, is close to concluding the hunt for a real estate head. Fund refuses to say whether real estate project head Paul Golding is in the running.

Norway’s $300 billion government pension fund is close to appointing a head of real estate investing.

The “leader” of real estate investing will work for the Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which is set to invest a significant proportion of its new allocation to real estate in unlisted property funds and vehicles.

A spokeswoman for NBIM tells PERE in this month’s issue: “The process is getting close to a conclusion.”

She said: “We are in the process of recruiting the leader of the real estate investments team. We will announce the new leader in due time.”

In 2007, NBIM appointed Paul Golding, the former Merrill Lynch real estate investment banker in Europe and the Middle East, to prepare the oil fund, as it is dubbed, for property investment in international markets pending a firm decision to allocate up to 5 percent or $22 billion to real estate. That decision has now been made.

The spokeswoman for NBIM would not confirm that Golding would be staying on or whether he would be a contender for the top job. She confirmed, however, that the real estate team was already “established”, except for the head, but the team would probably expand in the future, she added. 

The real estate leader and the property team will decide how best to invest via funds, joint ventures and separate accounts targeting funds established in OECD countries or countries with which Norway has a tax treaty with or other countries Norway has other tax agreements with.

They will typically choose to make $50 million to $250 million investments in real estate vehicles.

According to NBIM, the real estate team is primarily considering fund managers and property companies with assets greater than $250 million that operate in the UK, Sweden, France and Germany in the first instance.