It was appointed following advice from the fund’s manager Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) that Norway’s state assets would be less vulnerable to a permanent reduction in oil and gas prices if the GPFG were not invested in energy stocks.Energy stocks currently amount to some 4% of the total value of the fund, or about NOK315bn at the end of 2017, according to the finance ministry.Siv Jensen, Norway’s minister of finance, said: “Together with the advice from Norges Bank and the public consultation of the bank’s advice, this report will constitute a solid foundation for decision-making. The government aims to conclude on this matter later this fall.”Although the commission agreed with Norges Bank that the value of energy stocks was linked to the oil price – especially in the short term – it had been asked to take a number of other considerations into account.One of these was the need for an insurance against a permanent decline in the value of Norway’s oil and gas resources, the ministry said.Divestment dismissedHowever, the commission contended that divestment of the fund’s energy stocks was not an effective insurance against lower oil revenues in the future.In a scenario with sustained lower oil prices, the loss in the government’s net cash flow from petroleum activities would be substantial, the experts said, but pointed out that only around 1% of such a loss would be covered if the GPFG were not invested in energy stocks.“The estimate is uncertain, but the contribution will in any event be insubstantial,” the commission said.Selling off its energy stocks would challenge the current investment strategy of the fund, with broad diversification of the investments and a high threshold for exclusion, it added.The expert group also said the need to insure Norway’s wealth against a permanent reduction in the oil price was historically low.Instead, it suggested reducing the Norwegian state’s equity stake in directly-held energy companies such as Equinor, in which the energy ministry held a 67% stake in 2014, according to its latest available report. Norway’s government also owns oil and gas companies including Gassnova, Gassco and Petoro.If the state wanted to reduce the climate risk in the GPFG, the experts suggested doing more work on individual companies with the largest exposure to climate risk.Equity strategy shiftSeparately, NBIM has written to the finance ministry recommending that the process of benchmark index rebalancing should happen more gradually.It argued that the logistics of switching holdings had changed over the years now that the fund had grown so large. Since 2013, the fund has grown by two thirds from NOK5trn to NOK8.3trn as of 30 June.“The equity share in the benchmark index should be adjusted back to the target level more gradually than at present,” Norges Bank said. “The width of the no-trade band within which the equity share may move without triggering rebalancing should be narrower than today, and could be set at +/- 2 percentage points.”As of 30 June, the fund had NOK5.6trn, or 66.8% of its portfolio, invested in listed equities. Since last year the fund’s benchmark allocation targeted a 70% weighting to listed equities. Norway’s NOK8.7trn (€890bn) sovereign wealth fund should remain invested in energy stocks, a government-tasked expert commission has concluded, even though the managers of the fund believe the shares should be sold off.Øystein Thøgersen, chair of a commission created in February by Norway’s finance ministry, said: “Divestment of the energy stocks in the Government Pension Fund Global [GPFG] is not an effective insurance against a permanent decline in oil prices.“The energy stocks only contribute marginally to Norway’s oil price risk.”The commission had been asked to assess whether the GPFG should continue to invest in stocks listed in the energy sector as classified by FTSE Russell.
In this edition, we look back at the National Championships held between 1994 through to the beginning of the National Touch League in 1997, as well as the All Stars of Touch teams selected from the events. New South Wales clinched the Men’s Open title at the 1994 National Championships in Southport 3-2 following a controversial extra-time touchdown. The Gold Coast Bulletin had the following to say about the game:“The extra time period was less than a minute old when Wayne Bambury scored a touchdown despite calls from the Queensland camp that he had been touched before they forced the ball down.”“Ironically, Queensland also lost to New South Wales in drop-off situations in the Women’s Open and the Mixed Open finals.”New South Wales defeated Queensland in the Women’s Open 3-2, while they won the Mixed Open 4-3. New South Wales were also victorious in the Women’s 30’s division, winning 4-2, while Queensland won their only title in the Men’s 35’s division by one touchdown, 3-2. The 1994 National Championships also hosted four non-national events, with the Men’s 40’s, Men’s 45’s, Men’s 20’s and Women’s 20’s divisions being added to the line up. New South Wales defeated Queensland by one touchdown in the Men’s 40’s division, and also got a win in the Men’s 45’s division, 5-2. Queensland also got two wins in the non-national events, winning the Men’s 20’s 6-0, as well as the Women’s 20’s division by one touchdown, both against New South Wales. Queensland hit back at home in 1995, walking away with the Champion State National Title, defeating arch rivals New South Wales. The 14th National Championships were played at Owen Park, Southport in October 1995, and the home side did their state proud. Like in recent years, there was almost nothing separating Queensland and New South Wales, with both the Men’s and Women’s finals being decided by a drop off. In the Women’s division, Queensland led 3-2 with minutes remaining before New South Wales’ Captain Katrina Maher scored a touchdown to level the game and send it into extra time. New South Wales’ Jody English scored after nine minutes to take the lead for the first time in the game and the National Championships title. In the Men’s division, the game went to a drop off between New South Wales and Queensland following a close encounter for the 40 minute duration. Both teams scored one touchdown in the first half, while neither managed to score in the second half, sending the game into extra time. Queensland’s Bob Brindell scored the winning touchdown to end New South Wales’ three year reign of the title. In the Mixed Open division, New South Wales proved too strong for Queensland, winning 4-1, while they also took out the Women’s 30’s and Men’s 20’s division by one touchdown. Queensland also won the Men’s 30’s and 40’s divisions as well as the Women’s 20’s division to take out the Champion State title. In 1996, the National Championships was not played for the Open divisions, while the Senior divisions were still contested. There were several changes, with the New South Wales and Queensland’s Open sides competing in the first State of Origin, while the emerging states and territories were given a tournament of their own. The Southern Cross National Open Championships were held in Torrensville, South Australia and played host to teams from Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Defence Force. In the National Championships, New South Wales and Queensland were quite evenly matched. New South Wales won the Men’s 30’s, Women’s 35’s and Men’s 45’s divisions, while Queensland won the Mixed Juniors and Men’s 35’s. The two states also drew in the Women’s 30’s and Men’s 40’s divisions. The National Touch League was implemented in 1997 to replace the old National Championships. Instead of concentrating Australia’s representative talent into two powerhouse teams, it was decided to divide the 240,000 strong Australian Market into 12 competitive sides. It was hoped at the time that this process would also establish a strong national club structure. The tournament finals were broadcast on WIN, NBN and Optusvision, while NBN the host broadcaster also ran 50 television commercials to promote the event. In the Men’s Open division, the Sydney Scorpions and the Brisbane Cobras met in the final, and after trailing 3-1, the Cobras hit back to level the game at 3-all at full time. The deadlock was broken when Scorpions player Shane Fredrickson scored to win the first NTL title. He was also named Player of the Final, while Gavin McDonald was named Player of the Series. In the Women’s Open final, the Sydney Mets dominated the first half of the game against the Cobras, and were unlucky not to go to the half time break with more than a 1-0 lead. The Cobras hit back in the second half however, and scored two quick touchdowns to take out a 2-1 victory. The Cobras’ Catherine Barr was given the Player of the Final accolade while the Gold Coast’s Sharyn Williams was voted Player of the Series. The Mixed Open final saw the Sydney Rebels tough it out against the Brisbane Cobras. The game was deadlocked at 5-all before the Rebel’s Darren Shelley scored two quick touchdowns to take the inaugural title 7-5. Shelley was rewarded for his dominant performance, being named Player of the Final, while the Cobras’ Dione Williams was named as the Player of the Series. The National Touch League continues to this day, and the 2010 X-Blades NTL will see a record 146 teams compete across 14 divisions in Caloundra. Stay tuned to the Touch Football Australia and National Touch League websites for all the latest information regarding the 2010 X-Blades National Touch League. 1994 All-Stars of Touch Leesa Johnston (QLD), Steve Hughes (ACT), Ron Chilby (NSW), Mark Scott (NSW), Darren Shelley (NSW), Michael McGovern (ACT), Lynette Hardy (NSW), Swain Rovelli (QLD), Steve Golding (NSW), Trevor McPhillips (QLD), Ray Wilson (NSW), Wayne Clifford (NSW), Gai Taylor (NSW), Donna Hollingsworth (NSW). Coach of the Year: Greg Newman (NSW), Manager of the Year: Kathie O’Brien (QLD), Referee of the Year: Niki Ward (QLD), Official of the Year: Dick Fairbairn (NSW – ATA Life Member).1995 All Stars of Touch Robert Brindell (QLD), Kevin Feldman (QLD), Tony Howard (NSW), Leesa Johnston (QLD), Katrina Maher (NSW), Mark Scott (NSW), Stacey Gregory (NSW), Steve Tomlin (TAS), Scott Lewis (NT), Louise Mumford (WA), Tanya Mitchell (WA), Kelly Pickering (SA), Trent McDonald (QLD), Natalie Wilkinson (QLD).Coach of the Year: Keith Harris-Walker (WA), Manager of the Year: Ken Crawford (NSW), Referee of the Year: Rick Borg (QLD), Official of the Year: Ian Stanley (NSW – TIP Director).1996 All Stars of Touch Margie Allen (QLD), Scott Notley (QLD), Judy Malcolm (NSW), Gary Simons (NSW), Rob Pratt (QLD), Kieran Gavin (NSW), Maurice Stewart (NSW), Kerry Norman (QLD), Donna O’Connor (NSW), Craig Madders (QLD), Giselle Tirado (NSW), Jody English (NSW), Neil Ward (QLD), Robert Brindell (QLD). Coach of the Year: Colin Jenkinson (QLD), Manager of the Year: Karama Doreset (WA), Referee of the Year: Gary Mournehis (NSW), Official of the Year: Dr Paul Webb (ATA – Life Member).Touch Football Australia is calling on the Touch Community far and wide to celebrate 30 years of National Championships. Have you booked your tickets to the 30 Year Celebration Breakfast to be held on Sunday, 14 March, the day after the 2010 X-Blades National Touch League? Call Touch Football Australia on (02) 6212 2800 to book your seat.