CEO of World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Has Too Much Cash for Banks

Norway’s banks can’t absorb the hundreds of millions of dollars in cash that the new CEO of the country’s wealth fund needs to deposit as part of an agreement he struck to allow him to take on the role.

Nicolai Tangen, who started running the world’s biggest sovereign investor last month, agreed to liquidate his personal fund investments and place the proceeds in bank deposits as part of his contract. The intention was to ensure that the former hedge fund manager wasn’t exposed to any conflicts of interest through his holdings.

Tangen’s bank deposits represent almost 8 billion kroner ($862 million), the Oslo-based wealth fundsaid on Thursday.

In Norway, “there is a limited number of banks with a sufficient rating and solvency that are relevant candidates for holding personal bank deposits of the scale involved,” the fund said. “Moreover, there are extensive and time-consuming procedures associated with anti-money laundering rules, which banks implement in the case of large deposits.”

The fund said it has “therefore proved to be difficult to spread the deposits sufficiently to avoid substantial exposure to individual banks.”

As a workaround, the fund said Tangen will resort to an alternative arrangement that is still in keeping with the terms of his contract. That would allow him to place his fortune in Norwegian and foreign government securities with maturities of no longer than 12 months, as well as in securities issued by public authorities with a similarly short maturity.

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