April 10, 2018 / 10:41 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 2-Norway's wealth fund should not expand to unlisted firms -government

* Norway fund is world's largest SWF

* Invests in stocks, bonds, property abroad

* Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2tskfub (Adds quote, background)

OSLO, April 10 (Reuters) - Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, should not be given permission to invest in unlisted companies, the Nordic country's finance ministry said in recommendations to parliament on Tuesday, rejecting the fund's own advice.

The fund invests Norway's oil and gas revenues into stocks, bonds and property abroad, and is one of the world's biggest shareholders with stakes totalling 1.4 percent of all listed companies.

"Unlisted equity investments would challenge the management model based on transparency, low management costs, and a limited degree of active management," the Finance Ministry wrote.

The fund has argued that investing in unlisted shares, primarily via private equity, could help improve its balance between risk and return, naming Uber and Airbnb Inc among missed opportunities due to the current restrictions.

It already has permission to take stakes in companies that have a clear intention to list, which it can still exploit, the ministry said.

The finance ministry added it would consider whether to allow the fund to take direct stakes in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure projects.

"We will assess whether unlisted renewable energy infrastructure should be included in the environment-related mandates," Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in a statement.

"The assessment will be based on the same requirements for transparency, return and risk that apply to other investments in the fund," she added.

The sovereign wealth fund's size is equivalent to $196,000 for every Norwegian man, woman and child.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, writing by Terje Solsvik Editing by Ole Petter Skonnord and Keith Weir

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