Oil fund expert exports his expertise
August 24, 2011
Martin Skancke, long known as the brains behind much of the success of Norway’s so-called “oil fund,” has resigned from his top post in the Finance Ministry to start advising other countries that are building up their own funds. He’ll also help guide investing by Norwegian insurance firm Storebrand.
Skancke, age 45, has led the department in charge of Norway’s wealth management for the past five years. Before that, he worked in both the Office of the Prime Minister and for consulting firm McKinsey. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported Wednesday that he now thinks it’s time to move on.
“I’ve been sitting in leadership roles and had personnel responsibility for 17 years,” Skancke told DN. “It was a conscious choice to move over to an advisory role for awhile.”
He said he hasn’t entered into any agreements with other countries yet, but referred to candidates for his assistance as “developing countries with little competence in management systems and institutions.” He said ”one or two” of those he may help are in Africa and Asia.
Skancke sees no conflicts with his previous long-time employer, the Norwegian government, and says he hasn’t been subjected to any quarantine period. He’s subject to confidentiality clauses “but in relation to other countries, we are extremely open in Norway,” saying he won’t be relating information that isn’t already publicly available.
He intends to work mainly with how countries can organize their own sovereign wealth funds and on the relationship between owners and managers. In Norway, he noted, there’s a clear division of responsibility between the Finance Ministry as owner and Norges Bank (Norway’s central bank) as manager.
While he has no fund clients yet, Skancke has committed to a part-time job for Storebrand Kapitalforvaltning, the investment management portion of the Norwegian insurance firm. He calls it “a fine opportunity to see the Norwegian capital markets from another side than from the Finance Ministry,” and he aims to help Storebrand strengthen the processes tied to its investment strategy and with how it adapts to the regulatory framework.
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