– I don't know anything about finance – E24

– I don't know anything about finance – E24

LONDON (E24): Oil fund market capitalization moves towards new milestone of NOK 18,000 billion. In the London office, these three young Norwegians sit in everyone's hearts.

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– There are too many zeros. When it comes to such large sums you have to count how many numbers are in front of you, laughs Johannes Rosöck Eskild.

He works in the London office of the Oil Fund and spends his working days looking after the Norwegians' vast wealth.

42 billion in assets

Eskilt (29), Emily Nathan (24) and Christine Zizos (27) work from offices in Queensberry House, a parallel street off exclusive Savile Row in central London.

From the office complex, they overlook the rooftop where The Beatles performed their famous concert and Regent Street, where the fund made its first real estate investment in 2010. In the big city.

Eskilt is part of a graduate program at the Oil Fund, where he rotates between different departments.

– I completed my four months in ESG risk monitoring. This sector follows all companies in which we hold shares and keeps up with news about the companies. If a company doesn't perform up to our expectations, we enter into a dialogue with them or we can sell, he explains.

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The London office employs 128 staff from 20 different countries.  Johannes Rosock Eskild was one of them.

Two master's degrees and one Ph.D

Eskilt's completion of funding and investments is coincidental. He has a completely different background.

– I have two master's degrees in physics and a doctorate in cosmology, the study of the universe. So how did I get here? Yeah, I don't know what to bring up, but I thought it was interesting to hear that an oil fund wants to hire people with a wide variety of backgrounds. So I thought, why not apply?

– Do you have two master's degrees and a doctorate?

– Yes, I love student loans, you might say, he laughs.

– How do you use your expertise in physics in your work now?

– There is a lot of programming and a lot of data processing. So my workday is pretty much the same as before. You come to the office, work with data, and critique data. Eskild believes it may be more similar than one might think.

– When I started here I knew nothing about finance, but you learn that part quickly, he adds.

Johannes Rosock Eskild, Emilie Nathan and Christine Gjos are enjoying themselves in London.

Milestone after milestone

In the first quarter of 2024, the fund had a return of NOK 1,210 billion, or 6.3 percent.

An unofficial counting system on the fund's website passed the NOK 17,000 billion milestone in February, marking record after record in recent years.

At the time of writing, the counter shows 17,762 billion.

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– An incredible privilege

Eskild, Nathan and Gjos say they thrive in London and get the chance to sit closer to the companies the fund holds than in Oslo.

– It is an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to sit down with the management team and bosses at one of the world's largest companies. Sometimes conversations go to places you don't expect. Something exciting for us and for them, I think, says Zizos.

He previously worked in the Fund's Sustainability Division, where he focused on portfolio companies' approaches to human rights and responsible artificial intelligence. Now he actively manages the stock sector.

Christine Zizos has lived in London for five years.  Before getting a job at Oljefondet, he worked as a consultant.  He has also worked at the UN and the Embassy.

Zizos spent six months shadowing the management team and working directly in Oslo with Oil Fund CEO Nikolay Danken.

– I saw there how finance works like a machine, how management presents ideas and takes it to a big company.

In active management, she and the department follow about 100 companies and go deep into each company.

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– We get our mandate from the Ministry of Finance and a core index that we closely follow, but we weigh ourselves in different ways below or above it. In the industry I work in, we have different managers who go deep into companies and choose whether to invest more or less than the index, he explains.

We meet Emilie Nathan, Johannes Rozok Eskild and Christine Zizos in their offices at Queensberry House.

– You help move a lot of money every day. How does it feel on the body?

– I work in analyzing data and when these numbers are big they can seem very abstract. We see hundreds of billions of kroner, and then it sometimes appears as large numbers in the data set. But I know very well that we are talking about real money. We take it very seriously that it's Norwegian people's money, and that makes the job extra rewarding, says Jijos.

– Try and if it doesn't work, try again

Emily Nathan studied law and anthropology at the LSE in London and is on a two-year program in finance. He visited the “Property Sector, Equities Sector and Sector for Property and Unlisted Infrastructure”. He has also worked in finance offices in Oslo and New York.

Emily Nathan says the best thing about working in London is that you have the opportunity to be very close to the companies that hold the shares of the fund.

Nathan now works in the “Policy Engagement” department, where they study laws and regulations and assess how these will affect the fund's investments.

– Franchise department and equity department hold many corporate meetings. There you meet incredibly talented people and participate in meetings with employers at everything from Microsoft to Nestlé. As such a large investor you get incredible access to companies. So you get a lot of responsibility early on, we know that, Nathan says.

– How to complete the job in Oil Fund? Who must apply and what must be done to get in?

– I never thought I would end up here when I studied law, but finance values ​​different experiences. I think it's something worth trying, and if it doesn't work, try again.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

"Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru."

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