In a statement released on 15 February, Norges Bank Investment Management specified that the boards of its investments should "have a variety of competencies and backgrounds" and "an appropriate gender balance."
NBIM owns stakes in more than 9,200 companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Samsung. On average, it has a holding in 1.5% of the world’s listed businesses across 74 countries.
In recent years, representation has been a primary priority for public corporations, but much still remains to be achieved. Research conducted earlier this month by the Green Park Business Leaders Index found that there are no black chairs, chief executives or chief financial officers in any of the FTSE 100 companies. Any NBIM portfolio companies with less than 30% representation of either gender should “consider setting targets for gender diversity and report on progress”, the fund said.
They should also institute a formal nomination process to identify candidates who could make the board more diverse. “The process should include a rigorous search extending to a broad range of people with different backgrounds,” it added.
NBIM, whose CEO is Nicolai Tangen, said an increase in representation would help “avoid group thinking and bring a diversity of thought to board discussions”, as well as meet G20 and OECD principles on diversity. “While there are many different dimensions to diversity, we are particularly concerned by persistent underrepresentation of women on boards,” the fund said in a position paper.