How the Oil Fund is run matters more than who wins Norway’s election

The election is dominating headlines in Norway, but how its Oil Fund is governed matters far more than whether the left or right win.

Withdrawals from the fund financed a seventh of the public budget in 2016 and 2017. The running of the health, education and welfare systems will continue to be part-funded by the long-term return generated by the fund from its investment strategy. This in turn depends on how well the Fund is governed. Here, there is reason to worry, as the Fund underperforms most of its peers worldwide.

The New York Times to host Athens Democracy Forum this September featuring statesmen, policy leaders, economists and other influencers

The New York Times is hosting a major forum this September 14-18 in Athens, Greece for the fourth edition of the Athens Democracy Forum. Re-Define is proud to be a media partner for the event, and can offer a discount for those wishing to take part in the Forum (Re-Define 15% discount code - ADFRD16).

The conference will bring together some of the most influential array of speakers – statesmen, business leaders, economists and academics - to discuss the pressing challenges facing liberal democracies, their institutions and economies. The key topics to be tackled in this year’s agenda will be the compatibility of liberal democracy and religion; migration and the global refugee crisis; authoritarianism; and, the role of business in fostering democracy. 

Brexit - What next?

It has been a week since the UK woke up to a Vote Leave victory. Yet it is now also waking up to a new reality of political instability, economic uncertainty and broken promises. As of 1st of July, FTSE 350 has lost a total value of £40bn and the Eurostoxx Banks index has suffered a loss of €158bn since the Vote leave victory was announced on June the 24th.  Post-Brexit, world stockmarkets fell by over $3tn. The UK’s pension fund deficit jumped by £80bn, hitting a new record of £900bn amid increasing concerns about the long-term financial health of European and UK pension funds. The need for the ECB and the Bank of England to keep interest rates low will only mean further deficit increases for pension funds, with some warnings that many pension funds will implode in the next few years. While FTSE 100 has started to recover, the UK is on the cusp of a recession. From a healthy, recovering economy pre-referendum, the UK now has wiped all recent gains and faces an uncertain future and has been bumped down to a lower growth trajectory.

Making sense of the UK's EU referendum

With only a day left until the EU referendum, it’s more important than ever to be well-informed. Therefore, we have put together an easy-to-read overview of the major issues at stake. We have looked through both pro-Remain and pro-Brexit arguments in newspapers, expert opinions and political statements and digested them for your convenience. Given our belief that the state should look after its people, particularly ordinary citizens, we have tried to look at the debate by keeping in mind what would be in the best interests of the common man.

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Faces Big Risks from Tax Havens

The Panama Papers sparked a loud, but rather limited debate on the Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and its use of tax havens. Here we present some new facts, discuss what risks the Fund really faces and suggest concrete steps for reform.

Taken together, the Oil Fund’s direct investments in tax havens amount to as much as 8%-10% of its total value. These include its investments in real estate through subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Delaware, fund managers who use tax havens and direct stakes in companies registered offshore.  Most discussions so far have focussed on getting the Fund to reduce or eliminate this kind of direct use of tax havens.

While this is important, the largest financial, reputation and ethical risks for the Fund arise indirectly from its investments in companies that use tax havens and aggressive tax avoidance strategies.