UPDATE 2-Norway orders review of $790 bln wealth fund

Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:18am EDT
 
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* Review comes after criticism fund is too big, unresponsive

* Norway often bars sovereign wealth fund from investments

* Asks for greater scrutiny of Shell and Eni in Niger Delta

* Fund will also raise concerns with AngloGold

By Balazs Koranyi

OSLO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Norway has ordered a review of its $790 billion wealth fund, one of the world's biggest investors whose largesse helps underpin Norway's generous social benefits, responding to concerns that the fund is unwieldy and its returns too low.

The government also in a regular review of the fund's investment ethics ordered it to sell stakes in several companies due to ethical issues and expressed concern over investments in oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Eni.

But it stopped short of saying the latter stakes should be sold.

The fund, whose wealth stems from taxes on Norway's offshore oil industry, is so big it holds 1 percent of global stocks. But having grown rapidly in recent years, it now faces criticism that it is too big, unresponsive and mostly tracks its specially designed benchmark - based on measures for different parts of its portfolio - and generates only modest returns.   Continued...