Norges Bank

Supplementary ethical rules of conduct for employees of Norges Bank Central Banking Operations

These ethical rules of conduct are a supplement to and must be read in conjunction with the Ethical Principles (laid down by the Executive Board on 19 October 2011, last amended on 13 June 2018). The Ethical Principles with footnotes have been included and are shown in italics. The supplementary ethical rules of conduct appear beneath the applicable provision, printed in normal type.

The ethical rules of conduct were laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank on 23 November 2012 and were last amended on 28 November 2018.

Preface by the Executive Board

Norges Bank, as central bank and manager of the Government Pension Fund Global, is entrusted with considerable authority and trust. It is important to safeguard the Bank’s reputation and ensure a high level of ethical awareness and integrity among Norges Bank’s employees.

Norges Bank performs important public tasks and manages substantial assets on behalf of the nation. The Bank makes decisions that are of considerable importance for the business sector and private households, and manages confidential information that could have an impact on market conditions. Large sums of money are involved in the Bank’s purchases of goods and services.

The aim of these Ethical Principles is to create a common approach to ethical issues among all Norges Bank’s employees. Furthermore, these Ethical Principles are intended to serve as a basis for more detailed rules and procedures laid down by Norges Bank’s executive management.

All employees have an independent responsibility to contribute to safeguarding Norges Bank’s reputation. This means that employees are required to act in an ethically responsible manner and are prohibited from engaging in illegal acts, such as corruption, fraud, embezzlement, etc., and other forms of dereliction of duty that could undermine Norges Bank’s reputation.

Ethics are, however, more than prescriptions and prohibitions set out in laws and regulations. Ethics are also a matter of attitudes and the choices we make. It is neither possible nor desirable to regulate all the issues that could conceivably arise. The aim of these Ethical Principles is to provide guidance in approaching such matters.

1. Purpose

The purpose of these Ethical Principles is to safeguard Norges Bank’s reputation and maintain public trust in the Bank by ensuring that all employees perform their duties in a professional and independent manner and act with loyalty to Norges Bank as their employer. The aim of the Ethical Principles is to create a common approach to ethical matters among all Norges Bank’s employees and to provide a basis for more detailed rules and procedures.

2. Business conduct

Norges Bank must maintain a high level of ethical standards in the conduct of its activities, respect human rights, act in a socially responsible manner and comply with current laws and regulations.

Norges Bank does not accept any form of discrimination.

Norges Bank does not accept any form of corruption, whether involving employees, the Bank’s contractors or other contractual or third parties. Corruption erodes ethical and moral values and is a threat to the rule of law, fundamental human rights and democracy. Furthermore, corruption creates discrimination, is an impediment to social justice and undermines fair competition.

The risk of corruption in Norges Bank is primarily associated with a person using their position at the Bank as an employee, external consultant, contractor or subcontractor, to require, receive or accept undue advantage. The management of corruption risk must be an integral part of the business areas’ risk management frameworks.

Each of the Bank’s business areas must establish an anti-corruption programme that includes work with the Bank’s contractors and other contractual or third parties. The main elements of the anti-corruption programmes must be published.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

Norges Bank does not accept any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying of employees of the Bank or others involved in Norges Bank’s activities. The Bank does not accept any violation of human dignity in the workplace. Discrimination includes all non-objective differential treatment based on race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion, national or ethnic origin or other similar conditions that are in breach of the principle of non-discrimination. Positive discrimination in order to promote equal opportunities and diversity may nonetheless be legal and justifiable in some cases.

3. Authority to lay down further rules

Further rules for Norges Bank Central Banking Operations (NBCBO) are laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank. Further rules for Norges Bank Investment Management’s (NBIM) business area are laid down by the CEO of NBIM.

The stipulation that further rules are to be laid down means that further rules are to be drawn up for both NBCBO and NBIM, unless otherwise specified. The further rules may vary across the Bank's organisational units when their functions so require.

Internal rules that are laid down to implement statutory provisions or regulatory provisions laid down pursuant to legislation may not deviate from the statutory or regulatory provisions. However, further restrictions for employees may be laid down.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

“Financial instruments” is defined as in Section 2-2, subsection 1, of the Securities Trading Act:

  1. transferable securities,
  2. units in securities funds
  3. money market instruments
  4. derivatives

“Persons with whom the employee has a close personal relationship” is defined as in Section 2-5, subsections 1, 2 and 4, of the Securities Trading Act:

1. the employee’s spouse/partner,

2. the employee’s under-age children and under-age children of the employee’s spouse/partner with whom the employee lives,

4. an undertaking in which the employee or a person as mentioned in subsections 1, 2 or 5 exercises influence as mentioned in Section 1-3, subsection 2 of the Private Limited Companies Act, Section 1-3, subsection 2 of the Public Limited Companies Act, or Section 1-2, subsection 2 of the Companies Act.

Rules applicable to the “departmental directors” apply to directors of departments or directors who report directly to the Governor of Norges Bank.

4. Scope

These Ethical Principles apply to all permanent and temporary employees of Norges Bank,and the Bank must seek to extend their applicability to the employees of its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

For non-employees who perform services for Norges Bank, these Ethical Principles apply to the extent compliance with the Principles is included as a requirement in the contract governing their engagement. Further rules must be laid down specifying when such a requirement should be included in the contract.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

The ethical rules of conduct apply to permanent and temporary employees of Norges Bank Central Banking Operations. For part-time employees and the Bank’s subcontractors, the applicable parts of the ethical framework will be stipulated in the employment or service contract. The Ethical Principles and rules of conduct should in particular be taken into account in connection with contracts for independent contractors and consultants and outsourcing of the Bank’s activities. Further guidelines will be laid down by the General Counsel.

5. General principles

All employees have a responsibility to contribute to safeguarding Norges Bank's reputation. This means employees are prohibited from engaging in illegal acts, including all forms of corruption, such as giving or receiving bribes or undue advantage. Furthermore all employees are prohibited from engaging in fraud, embezzlement or other dereliction of duty that could harm the reputation of the Bank. Employees must also act in an ethically responsible manner and have a high level of ethical awareness.

Employees have a duty of loyalty towards Norges Bank and the decisions taken by the Bank.

In their work, employees must strive for a high level of integrity and high professional standards.

Employees must use Norges Bank's resources in a prudent and efficient manner.

Employees are encouraged to promote an atmosphere of openness and good communication at Norges Bank. Employees are encouraged to report any circumstances that may constitute a breach of these Ethical Principles. Should the employee not wish to report such circumstances to his/her immediate superior or to the superior above, reporting may be made through alternative internal notification channels (whistleblowing).

6. Duty of confidentiality

All who work or perform a service for Norges Bank have a duty to prevent others from gaining access to, or knowledge of, any matter that they may become aware of in the performance of their duties regarding the business affairs of the Bank or of other parties, or of the private circumstances of any person (cf. Section 12 of the Norges Bank Act).

7. Personal trading

Employees of Norges Bank may, for the purpose of managing their private assets or savings, carry out trades in shares, bonds, units in securities funds and other financial instruments. Such management must be carried out in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and the internal rules of the Bank.

For the CEO of NBIM and the Chief Compliance Officers at NBIM, NBREM and NBCBO, personal trading that is subject to pre-approval and/or a lock-in period must be pre-approved by General Counsel.  

The Governor and the CEO of NBIM must, for their respective business areas, lay down further rules and other restrictions on personal trading, including with regard to lock-in periods and reporting, if applicable. In addition to personal trading in financial instruments, the rules shall also wherever relevant apply to currency, deposits, loans and other fixed-income products. The purpose is to protect Norges Bank’s reputation, prevent conflicts of interest and avoid suspicion that employees are engaging in personal trading on the basis of confidential information (cf. Section 8 of these Principles).

The further rules may differentiate between employee categories. Employees who in their work normally have insight into or whose work involves management of financial instruments for Norges Bank shall be subject to specific rules on personal trading that are adapted to this activity. Specific restrictions on personal trading shall be laid down for employees in NBCBO who may have access to confidential information on one or more financial institutions and for employees with access to the interest rate-setting process or the process for preparing advice on the countercyclical capital buffer.

The compliance functions are responsible for monitoring compliance with the further rules on personal trading.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

7.1  General

The term personal trading refers to trading conducted by employees for their own account or for the account of others, including persons with whom the employee has a close personal relationship (see Section 3).

Employees may trade in financial instruments within the relevant laws and regulations and the restrictions and requirements laid down in internal governance documents.

When engaging in personal trading, employees must always endeavour to avoid harming the Bank’s reputation. Employees must exercise caution even if a transaction is not prohibited under these rules. This applies, for example, to trading in cryptocurrencies.

The personal trading rules apply even if trading takes place through a private limited company or other form of business organisation when the employee participates in investment decisions.

7.2  Lock-in period

Employees may not sell, redeem or refinance financial instruments, foreign exchange products or fixed income products (typically, fixed-rate deposits or loans) until twelve weeks have passed from the time of acquisition. The same lock-in period applies to transactions in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs)[1].

The lock-in period does not apply to personal trading of assets under active management by a portfolio manager where the employee is not involved in individual investment decisions. The prohibition on trading pursuant to the first and second paragraph of Section 7.5 does not apply to active management agreements.  

Some products include the option of determining the financial instruments to be traded under the agreement (for example Unit Link products) as well as some active management agreements. If direct trading in an instrument would have been subject to a lock-in period, the same lock-in period will apply when the instrument is traded by decision of the employee as part of the contract, cf also Section 7.3 on the reporting obligation.

The lock-in period does not apply to units in securities funds.

Foreign exchange products refer to foreign exchange loans. Foreign exchange products also include trades where the primary underlying purpose is currency or interest rate speculation. Typical examples of this are purchases of foreign exchange that are held as deposits and the like and are not intended to fund concrete purchases or “spent” in some other way.

The lock-in period for foreign exchange does not therefore apply to, for example, necessary exchange in connection with travel, studies abroad or relocation between countries using different currencies, buying or selling holiday homes or valuables abroad, online shopping in foreign currency, covering current payment obligations or investment returns in foreign currency. Such transactions are not considered to be trading in foreign exchange products.

Non-Norwegian employees may have loans and deposit accounts in their home country’s currency without being subject to the provisions on the lock-in period and the reporting obligation.

In situations where the financial instrument or the same currency is acquired in more than one trade, the lock-in period applies separately for each acquisition. The lock-in period also applies to personal trading conducted prior to the commencement of employment at Norges Bank.

7.3  Reporting obligation

When a trade is subject to a lock-in period (see Section 7.2), the trade must be immediately reported (at the latest before the end of two business days after completion of the transaction) to the compliance function. The compliance function obtains the necessary assessments from, and gives necessary information to, the employee’s immediate superior.

The reporting obligation applies upon completion of the transaction, not when the buy or sell order is submitted. The transaction is considered to be completed once a binding agreement is entered into, even if the transaction should be settled at a later date. The same applies to the subscription of equities: the reporting obligation applies once there is a binding agreement, i.e. when equities purchased have been allocated.

Reports must be submitted using the electronic notification system, with documentation of the transaction (for example the contract note) attached.

Agreements and amendments to active management agreements must be reported to the compliance function. Employees must also on the request of the compliance function provide supplementary information on asset holdings that are under active management.

7.4  Price-relevant information

An employee may not at any time purchase, establish, sell, submit trading orders, redeem or refinance financial instruments, foreign exchange products or fixed rate products if the employee has – or has access to – information that is not publicly available relating to circumstances that may affect market prices, cf. Section 8 of the Ethical Principles concerning inside information etc.

7.5  Special restrictions applying to Norges Bank’s executive management and employees who have access to inside information concerning a financial institution, the policy rate setting process etc.

Employees who have access to inside information concerning the policy rate setting process or the process of preparing advice on the countercyclical capital buffer may not without the written consent of the compliance function purchase, establish, sell, submit trading orders, redeem or refinance foreign exchange products, fixed rate products or financial instruments designated in NOK[2] during the 21 calendar days immediately preceding the date of publication of the policy rate decision and the decision basis for the advice concerning the countercyclical capital buffer, or until the advice has been published.

The members of the NBCBO executive group and employees who may have access to confidential information concerning a financial institution[3] are not permitted to acquire or dispose of Norwegian transferable securities (cf. definition in Chapter 2 of the Securities Trading Act) that are issued by financial sector undertakings or derivatives of such securities. Trading in units in securities funds is permitted, provided financial sector securities funds hold a broadly diversified portfolio at the time of acquisition. The prohibition in this paragraph does not apply to securities acquired by an employee through inheritance or the administration of an estate. The compliance function may in special cases issue an exemption for securities held by an employee at the time the changes in the internal rules enter into force. The compliance function may similarly issue an exemption for securities held by an employee when they move to a new position to which the prohibition on trading applies.

The prohibition on trading in the first and second paragraph does not apply to transactions that do not involve an independent decision by the employee, such as in the case of inheritance, a gift, administration of an estate, stock redemptions in connection with write-downs, forced redemption, forced sales, involuntary conversion, bond redemption or similar. The same applies to corporate events such as mergers, demergers, stock splits and reverse stock splits, "forced" distribution of dividend shares and similar. Nor does the prohibition on trading prevent the normal exercise of any option or forward/futures contracts previously entered into upon the expiry of such contracts[4].

The compliance function can in other cases grant exemptions from the provisions in the first and second paragraph provided that such exemptions are not deemed inadvisable[5].

Departmental directors must at all times maintain a list of those units or employees to which the restrictions in the provisions of the first and second paragraphs apply. If an employee is included in the list, departmental directors have a responsibility to notify the employee.

7.6 Employees with insight into on the management of financial instruments  

The departmental director responsible for the management of the foreign exchange reserves must draw up a list of employees and temporary staff who in their work normally have insight into, or whose work involves, the management of financial instruments or foreign exchange for NBCBO. If an employee or a temporary member of staff is included in the list, the departmental director also has a responsibility to notify the relevant employee or temporary member of staff. It is prohibited for persons on this list to:

  • trade in derivatives or exchange-traded notes (ETNs).
  • use counterparties in personal trading that regularly and on a significant scale provide services for NBCBO, unless trading takes place electronically and is based on standard terms and conditions. The departmental director responsible for the management of the foreign exchange reserves must ensure that a list of counterparties is drawn up.

Employees who in the performance of their duties manage portfolios or conduct transactions in financial instruments or otherwise take decisions concerning financial instruments are not permitted to conduct transactions for their own account in the same financial instruments specified in the management mandate.

Other employees who have – or have access to – information about Norges Bank’s decisions concerning trading in financial instruments are not permitted to conduct transactions for their own account in the same type of financial instrument until the information has been made publicly available.

8. Handling of inside information and other confidential company information

When trading in financial instruments, employees of Norges Bank must not misuse inside information[6] or other confidential information they acquire knowledge of through their work for Norges Bank. Whoever is in possession of inside information must:

  • not abuse it to trade in financial instruments, either directly or indirectly, for his/her own account or for the account of another, or encourage others to engage in such transactions
  • not pass such information on to unauthorised persons
  • exercise due care to ensure that the information does not come into the possession of unauthorised persons or is abused
  • not advise unauthorised persons on trading in the financial instruments concerned.

The abuse of inside information constitutes a criminal offence[7].

The Governor and the CEO of NBIM may lay down internal rules and procedures for their respective business areas for the handling of inside information and the establishment of information barriers.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

Norges Bank’s activities involve processing market-sensitive information, such as information related to forthcoming policy rate decisions and auctions, advice concerning the countercyclical capital buffer, confidential information concerning specific institutions, information relating to extraordinary measures for specific banks or market-oriented measures taken by the government or by Norges Bank during financial crises. Such market-sensitive information may have an impact on government bond markets (fixed income markets) or on securities markets in general. See also the Executive Board’s Procedures for handling market-sensitive information (laid down on 17 December 2008), cf. Section 8 of the Ethical Principles.

9. Handling of conflicts of interest

Employees must not engage in any actions that may create, or may appear to create, a direct or indirect conflict of interest between the employees' private interests and the interests they are to protect as employees of Norges Bank.

In their work, employees must avoid relationships of dependence on or closeness to persons, enterprises or institutions outside Norges Bank if the nature of the relationship is such that it could compromise trust in Norges Bank's independence and authority.

Any professional activities outside Norges Bank must be reported to the relevant line manager. Professional activities on a more than modest scale will be subject to prior approval. Employees may not hold external positions of trust, secondary occupations or ownership interests that are, or may appear to be, in conflict with the interests the employee is to protect as an employee of Norges Bank.

External positions of trust or secondary occupations are not permitted in companies within the financial sector or in companies that have business relations with Norges Bank.

Further rules regarding external positions, ownership interests and other activities outside Norges Bank are laid down by the Governor and the CEO of NBIM for their respective business areas.

The Governor and the CEO of NBIM may grant exemptions for their respective business areas from the prohibitions contained in this section and in the further rules laid down, provided that such exemptions are not deemed to be inadvisable.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

9.1  General provisions concerning conflicts of interest

Employees must not act in a manner that may be in conflict with the performance of their duties at Norges Bank. Employees must immediately inform their immediate superior of any potential conflicts of interest, including conflicts of interest relating to external positions, ownership interests, etc.

Employees must exercise judgement if a question of conflict of interest arises. The following questions may provide a helpful guide in this assessment:

  • Could this situation be perceived by others as gaining a personal advantage by virtue of my position?
  •  What is the other party seeking to achieve?
  • Is there openness about my contact with the other party?
  • Would I be embarrassed if my colleagues or superiors were to become aware of the situation?
  • How would I react if my colleagues did the same?
  • How might this situation be presented in the media?
  • How would this situation affect my reputation or the reputation of the Bank if it were reported in the media?

9.2  Impartiality

Employees of Norges Bank must not hold a position whereby they evaluate, approve, supervise or in any other way assess the work of a close associate. An employee must not prepare, facilitate, supervise or in any other way process any matter in which the employee or the employee’s close associates have a direct or indirect economic or other personal interest. Similarly, an employee must not process any matter where there are any other circumstances that could impair confidence in the employee’s impartiality, cf. the Public Administration Act, Section 6 concerning impartiality.

9.3  Relationship to financial institutions, business contacts, etc.

Employees may not receive remuneration from or serve on a board of directors, supervisory council or similar body

  • in financial institutions, investment firms or investment management companies for securities funds, or
  • for one of the Bank’s business contacts.

If persons or companies with whom the employee is associated seek a business connection with Norges Bank, the employee must not act in a manner that creates ambiguity as to who the employee is acting for or which interests he or she is safeguarding. Employees must not give undue emphasis to their employment at the Bank vis-à-vis private business contacts.

9.4  Secondary occupations

The provisions in this section do not apply to duties performed by the employee on behalf of or on assignment for Norges Bank.

Employees of Norges Bank must not engage in professional activities or accept any remuneration for secondary occupations other than from the Bank without the prior written approval of the departmental director. Application for prior approval should be made using the electronic notification system.

For academic secondary occupations on a modest scale, such as lectures, participation in assessment committees, supervising students and marking examination papers, etc., it is sufficient for the employee to inform his or her immediate superior in writing in advance.

Employees are not required to submit advance information or seek prior approval in connection with assignments or positions of trust on a modest scale in a jointly owned property, housing cooperative, social associations, political activities, sports clubs or in connection with their children’s education, etc.

9.5  Secondary occupations that may be prohibited, etc.

The departmental director may, on the basis of an assessment in the specific case, issue a written decision prohibiting an employee from holding specific external positions of trust, secondary occupations or ownership interests, including unpaid positions that are, or may appear to be, in conflict with Norges Bank’s interests. This will apply if, for example, the activity could have a negative impact on the employee’s work at Norges Bank or impair the Bank’s reputation. Similarly, the departmental director may decide that the external activity must cease. A copy of the decision must be sent to the compliance function as soon as possible.

10. Gifts and personal benefits from/to business contacts etc of Norges Bank

Employees must not accept gifts or personal benefits, for themselves or for others, from the Bank’s business contacts. "Business contacts" is defined as external contacts with whom the Bank does business when carrying out its activities. Further rules and procedures must be laid down defining gifts and personal benefits, any exemptions from the prohibition and regarding the registering of any gifts or personal benefits that have been received.

In general, gifts must not be given to Norges Bank’s business contacts.

Under no circumstances are employees permitted to offer, or in any other way favour, business contacts of Norges Bank with any kind of benefit in order to obtain (including where the action may appear to be an attempt to obtain) contracts or personal benefits.

The prohibitions in this section apply irrespective of the financial value of the benefit and even if the giving of the benefit is deemed customary in the relevant social setting, country or culture.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

10.1.1   Prohibition against accepting gifts etc. when on Bank business

10.1.2   Employees are not permitted, for themselves or for others, to accept gifts, discounts, commissions, gift cards, services or any other benefits that may constitute a personal advantage for the employee or that could, or may be intended to, influence the employee’s performance of his or her duties. The following further rules apply:

  1. The prohibition applies irrespective of whether a gift in such situations is customary in other countries. Invitations to participate in trips, sporting events, concerts etc. paid by parties other than Norges Bank are also considered gifts. See, however, Section 11 on invitations etc. that may be accepted.

    Typical advertising material (calendars, almanacs, pens, etc.) of modest value and objects etc. of modest value received in connection with seminars or educational events may be accepted.

    Gifts from other central banks, international organisations or other public authorities may be accepted if the gift has limited value and it would in the circumstances be considered inappropriate and unusual if the Bank’s representative did not accept the gift. Any gifts received, including the name of the recipient and of the giver and the nature of the gift, must be reported as soon as possible for approval via the electronic notification system to the departmental director and the compliance function. Gifts with a value in excess of NOK 500 must become the property of the Bank and be turned over to the compliance function. Advertising material of modest value and objects of modest value received in connection with seminars or educational events are not required to be reported.
  2. The prohibition also applies to duties performed outside Norges Bank, for example serving as a board member, when the duties are connected with the employee’s position at the Bank.
  3. Employees may receive public awards or academic honours and decorations bestowed by universities, colleges, research funds, etc.
  4. Under the prohibition on gifts, bonus points and the like earned from official travel cannot be used for private purposes.

10.1.3   Subsection 10.1.1 also applies to gifts or other benefits given to employees’ close associates that may be connected with the employee’s position at Norges Bank. In the event, the employee must, as far as can reasonably be expected, endeavour to prevent the gift or benefit from being provided.

10.1.4   Employees must not, for themselves or for others, request, receive or accept an offer of an improper advantage in connection with a position or an assignment. Similarly, employees must not provide or offer an improper advantage in connection with a position, office or assignment (cf. the provisions concerning corruption in Sections 387 and 388 of the General Civil Penal Code). The penalty for corruption, or aiding and abetting such an offence, is fines or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years. Gross corruption, or aiding and abetting such an offence, is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

Employees must not, for themselves or for others, request, receive or accept an offer of an improper advantage in order to influence the execution of a position, office or assignment. Employees must not provide or offer an improper advantage in order to influence the execution of a position, office or assignment.

Whether an advantage is or is considered improper will depend on an overall assessment. A number of factors may be of importance, such as:

  • the value of the advantage
  • whether the advantage is in breach of internal guidelines, cf. for example Section 10.1.1 above
  • the purpose of the advantage
  • whether the advantage has been kept hidden
  • the relationship between the giver/provider and the recipient

Employees must be aware that Norges Bank can also be held responsible in the event of corruption by third parties acting on behalf of Norges Bank.

10.1.5   The main rule is that Norges Bank does not give gifts to business contacts. If this would seem impolite for reasons of culture or custom in the relevant country, a modest gift may be given. Nonetheless, a gift must never be given if the purpose of the gift is to obtain – or could be perceived as an attempt to obtain – a contract or personal benefits, cf. Section 10, penultimate paragraph, of the Ethical Principles.

10.2  Loans to employees and close associates

Employees or their close associates may accept loans on ordinary market terms from a business connection of the Bank whose ordinary activities include lending. A close associate may accept a loan on employee loan terms from a lender that is one of the Bank’s business contacts provided the loan has been granted in connection with the close associate’s employment.

The restriction in 10.2 does not apply to loans and other financial services through schemes negotiated by employee organisations and offered to their members.

10.3 Exemptions

The compliance function can decide on exemptions from the supplementary rules on gifts where this is not deemed inadvisable.

11. Acceptance of invitations

Employees may, as part of Norges Bank's activities, participate at external seminars, meetings and events that are relevant for Norges Bank's business and where participation is in the interests of Norges Bank.

Costs related to travel, meetings, seminars etc. will, as a main rule, be covered by Norges Bank. Further rules must be laid down regarding how this principle will operate in practice in relation to different types of events.

Employees may accept meal invitations from Norges Bank's business contacts only if the meal naturally forms part of a meeting or other type of event that is connected to an engagement for Norges Bank, or where the purpose is clearly not to obtain a contract with or special benefits from Norges Bank.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

Costs related to travel, meetings, seminars etc. incurred in the performance of professional duties for the Bank are as a rule covered by Norges Bank unless otherwise indicated by common practice among other central banks or international organisations, academic institutions etc. In special cases, the departmental director can nonetheless grant prior approval for such expenses to be covered by the host organisation if it is deemed unobjectionable by the director to make an exception under the circumstances. A copy of the approval must be sent to the compliance function as soon as possible.

The provision in Section 11, third paragraph, of the Ethical Principles concerning meals provided by the Bank’s business contacts also applies to meals offered by host organisations, sponsors etc. as part of a meeting or seminar. Travel and participation in meetings, seminars, etc. on official Bank business are not subject to the prior approval of the departmental director, but must be agreed on in advance with the employee’s immediate superior and must be undertaken exclusively for the purpose of conducting Bank business (not wholly or partly for private purposes).

For travel expenses etc. related to external lectures, see Section 12.

 12. Lectures and educational activities

Educational activities that fall within the scope of Norges Bank's business form a part of Norges Bank's mission. Employees may participate and represent Norges Bank in external gatherings and contribute by giving lectures etc., where such participation is consistent with the ongoing activities of Norges Bank and where it is deemed appropriate in light of Norges Bank's business and interests. Such participation requires the prior approval of the head of the relevant organisational unit.

Further rules on remuneration for lectures etc. must be laid down.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

Employees are not permitted to accept compensation for external lectures directly linked to Norges Bank’s activities unless the total value of the compensation is less than NOK 500 and is customary for that type of lecture. Cash compensation may nonetheless not be accepted.

Any compensation received must be reported as a gift via the electronic notification system. The employee is responsible for ensuring compliance with tax rules and other rules for such compensation.

Norges Bank covers travel and subsistence expenses in connection with external lectures held by or with the contribution of the employee. The host organisation may cover seminar fees etc. and meals included in the seminar fee when the lecture is part of the seminar. In special cases, the departmental director can provide prior written approval for additional expenses to be covered by the host organisation if it is deemed unobjectionable by the director to make an exception. A copy of the approval must be sent to the compliance function as soon as possible.

13. Duty of disclosure

Employees have a duty to inform their superiors or relevant control units of issues concerning compliance with these Principles or other relevant rules.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

At the start of the employment relationship, the employee must inform the compliance function of secondary occupations and holdings of financial instruments (with a lock-in period), foreign exchange products and fixed-rate products.

In connection with monitoring and control in relation to the provisions in Section 7 and 9, employees are required, when requested to do so by the compliance function, to provide information about secondary occupations, holdings of financial instruments (with a lock-in period), foreign exchange products and fixed rate products or other factors.

Employees act with loyalty when they notify the Bank of violations of ethical rules of which they have become aware.

14. Consequences of a failure to comply

Failure to comply with these Principles is deemed to be a breach of the contract of employment and may be reported to the relevant authorities. In serious cases, failure to comply may have consequences for the person's employment or engagement with Norges Bank.

Supplementary rules of conduct laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank:

Repeated violations of the ethical rules may be regarded as a serious violation even if the individual violation in isolation is not serious.

In the event of a violation of the ethical rules by an employee, the compliance function will notify the employee by email with a copy to his or her immediate superior and departmental director.

All new employees are required to sign a declaration confirming that he or she has read and understood the Ethical Principles and the supplementary ethical rules for employees of Norges Bank Central Banking Operations and that he or she is aware of the consequences of violating these principles and rules.

All other employees must on request sign a declaration confirming that he or she has read and understood the ethical framework referred to in the previous paragraph and that he or she is aware of the consequences of violating these principles and rules.

15. Reporting

Norges Bank must lay down procedures relating to internal reporting of compliance and non-compliance with these Principles and rules laid down pursuant to the Principles. At least once a year, the Executive Board must receive reports on non-compliance with the ethical rules and principles and follow-up status reports.

See the mandate for the compliance function in Norges Bank of 23 November 2012 and the NBCBO internal guidelines for incident reporting.

16. Entry into force

For NBCBO, these Ethical Principles enter into force at the same time the further rules laid down by the Governor of Norges Bank enter into force.

For NBIM, these Ethical Principles enter into force at the same time the further rules laid down by the CEO of NBIM enter into force.

Upon entry into force, these Ethical Principles replace the Ethical Rules for Employees of Norges Bank laid down by the Executive Board on 11 May 2005.

Footnotes:


  1. “Employees and temporary staff who, in their work, normally have insight into or whose work involves management of financial instruments or foreign exchange for Norges Bank” are not permitted to trade in exchange-traded notes (ETNs), cf Section 7.6.
  2. It is important to note that units in securities funds are a financial instrument. The prohibition on trading is not an impediment to trading during the “quarantine period” in units in securities funds where more than 95% of the fund is comprised of financial instruments in currencies other than NOK. Nor is the prohibition on trading an impediment to pre-determined fixed payments through an existing savings instrument during the “quarantine period”.
  3. This includes access to Norges Bank’s settlement system (NBO) data.
  4. See Section 3-3, subsection 2 of the Securities Trading Act.
  5. Exemptions that are not deemed inadvisable pursuant to the first or second paragraph can include the sale of allocated subscription rights before the rights expire or become worthless, or the disposal of securities acquired through inheritance, as a gift, or in the administration of an estate, or Norwegian transferable securities that an employee holds upon commencement of employment at Norges Bank. Another example is equities allocated through a share issue based on shareholders’ subscription rights, assigned on the basis of their existing holdings. The compliance function may obtain advice from departmental directors.
  6. Inside information is a non-public fact whose disclosure could significantly influence the price of a financial instrument. The term is further defined in the Securities Trading Act.
  7. The formal statutory basis in Norway on the misuse of inside information and other rules of conduct relating to financial instruments is the Securities Trading Act.
Published 23 August 2017 12:41