The boss of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund said it would invest even more in the UK if it votes to leave the European Union (EU).
Yngve Slyngstad (pictured), chief executive of Norway’s £884bn fund, dismissed claims by the British government that a Brexit would harm investment.
He told Reuters: “We will continue to be a significant investor in the UK at about the same level as we are today and probably even increasing our investments there no matter what happens. All changes entail some risk but we would not categorize it as a significant risk.”
Øystein Olsen, head of the Norwegian central bank, backed up Mr Slyngstad’s comments, saying: “The fund will remain a long-term investor. There are long-term risks and there are short-term risks. Brexit is more in the latter category.”
Leave.EU co-chairman Richard Tice welcomed the comments, saying: “With David Cameron, Tony Blair and other leading In campaigners trying to scare voters with visions of a Brexit of Mass Destruction, especially with respect to jobs and investment, it’s fantastic to see the CEO of a £600 billion Sovereign Wealth Fund – the biggest in the world – providing the voice of reason.”
The Express also quotes UKIP Business Spokesman Christopher Mills as saying: “Most of the entrepreneurial British fund managers know perfectly well that Brexit will have no significant impact on British business and the economy.
“Similarly they don’t have the same conflicts of interest as the big multinational investment banks who receive significant revenues from European governments.
“I seem to remember that it was Goldman Sachs who advised the European Union that Greece could meet its economic criteria.”
The comments come just days after Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson said Britain was wielding “diminishing power” within the EU as Germany becomes all-dominant.
“When it comes to the big stuff the decisions are made by two, and increasingly one country,” he said. “Others are called to meetings to approve of what has been decided, if not in the afternoon then during the middle of the night.
“This seems to have become the standard way of doing things in Brussels.”
He also said that Iceland was ready to open trade talks with Britain if it votes to leave the EU.
“The UK is one of our most important trading partners and whatever you decide to do we would like to have a free trade deal with you, whether through the EEA [European Economic Area] or independently,” he said.