NBIM staff cash in on record year

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Employees at Norges Bank Investment Management, the Norwegian government pension fund, saw their average pay rise by 258% last year compared with 2008, as the fund reported its best year ever, fuelled by the booming international equity and fixed income markets.

The fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund in Europe, returned 25.6%, equivalent to NOK613bn (€76.4bn), it has said in its annual report, with the fund worth NOK2,640bn (€329bn) at the end of last year, compared with NOK2,275bn (€284bn) at the end of 2008.

"The values have come back much sooner than we could have expected. The parts of the fixed income markets that stopped working during the financial crisis gradually returned to more normal conditions. This contributed a lot to the strong excess return," said CEO Yngve Slyngstad.

Slynstad himself took home an annual salary of NOK3.5m (€436,000) last year, the report showed, with its 249 employees seeing their remuneration rise by 258% year-on-year.

A total of 106 front-office and 120 other employees received bonuses, with around 60% (against 10% in 2008) receiving top-end bonuses of between 75-100% of the upper limit of NOK173.4m (€21.6m) for front-office workers and a NOK30.5m (€3.8m) limit for other departments.

The fund also hired 51 new staff during the course of the year, from eight different countries.

The total fixed pay bill for the year was NOK96.1m (€11.4m) for front-office and NOK84.9m (€10.6m) for other departments.

Its average holding in international equity markets rose to 1% at the end of 2009, from 0.8% a year earlier, while its holding in Europe increased to 1.8% from 1.3%.

"NBIM was strengthened in a number of areas in 2009, with a new governance model and organisation structure. We used new methods in our ownership work and launched two new strategic focus areas, well-functioning markets and water management," added Slyngstad.

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