World’s Top Wealth Fund Bets on Success of Post-Brexit Britain

Pro-Brexit activists hold placards and wave flags as they demonstrate opposite Downing Street in central London on February 14, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May risks another humiliating Brexit defeat at the hands of her own eurosceptic MPs on Thursday, with just weeks to go until Britain officially leaves the …

The world’s top wealth fund has put a 30-year wager on the UK being stronger outside of the European Union.

Norway’s $1 trillion Government Pension Fund confirmed Wednesday that it would increase its investment in British bonds and companies, regardless of whether Brexit Britain leaves the EU with a deal or makes a clean break of it.

Chief Executive of the sovereign wealth fund, Yngve Slyngstad told Reuters, “We will continue to be significant investors in Britain. We foresee that over time our investments in the UK will increase.”

Alluding to the group’s confidence that Britain will be stronger outside of the EU even if she leaves without a deal, Mr Slyngstad asserted, “With our time horizon, which is 30 years-plus, current political discussions do not change our view of the situation.”

The Government Pension Fund is built on the Nordic nation’s gas and oil revenues and is one of the biggest foreign investors in the UK, with Britain being its third-largest fund market, behind the United States and Japan.

It holds £6 billion of UK government debt and is a co-owner of London’s Regent Street. The group is also an investor in a number of British companies including Marks and Spencer, Rolls-Royce, Sainsbury’s, and BP.

Last year, it invested 8.5 percent of its fund in the UK, in property, equity, and bonds.

While some EU economy companies have threatened to pull out of the UK over Brexit, the Norwegian group, which employs 250 people in London, has said, “We see no operational consequences of any possible outcomes” over the nation’s departure from the bloc.

Brexiteer and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg reacted to the news, telling The Times, “It is a recognition that the freer the market in Britain is the more attractive the country will be to outside investment.”

The news came the same day that the World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed the UK will join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as an independent member in the event of a no-deal exit, meaning that Britain will continue to be able to bid for overseas public sector contracts worth £1.3 trillion after Brexit.

“The agreement is another huge step in the U.K. establishing itself as an independent WTO member, continuing to bang the drum for free trade and UK business,” international trade secretary Liam Fox said.


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