Reflections on the integrity of Norwegian fund managers

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What is it that separates Nordic financial professionals from their counterparts on Wall Street and in the City? Well, for one, it’s a refreshing sense of openness and – if this account is to be believed – it’s also a keen sense of integrity.

UK newspaper, The Guardian, has produced another in a series of monologue-style articles with financial services professionals. This time, it’s with an equity research professional, who suggests that the job is a bit like being a journalist – only readers respect you, and the money’s much better.

However, nestled among the 1,000 words or so is a little nugget of information about fund managers working for Norway’s petroleum fund.

Fund managers are now increasingly barred from accepting any sort of client entertainment from the sell-side, for fear it could be interpreted as bribery, but in Norway they take it one step further: “The Norwegian Petroleum fund will even pay for their coffee and if you bring sandwiches they won't touch them.”

If accepting a snack is considered tantamount to corruption, we can only surmise that Nordic fund managers are whiter than white.

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