Regulatory regime demands stood behind a sharp rise in the assets funneled into equity savings accounts (aksjesparekonto, or ASK) in Norway in the last two months of 2019, explains VFF, the Norwegian Fund and Asset Management Association.
Some NOK125bn (€ 12.4bn) was invested via the accounts by Norwegian individuals by the end of the year, equal to some 77% of total assets in equity funds in the local market, with about half the assets being placed in the last two months noted.
The rules governing aksjesparekonto mean that a transition period in place since the regulatory regime entered into force in Septembe 2017 came to an end by the start of 2019. The transition period enabled shifting existing investments in equities and equity funds into an account without triggering a tax payment on gains.
As of 1 January 2020, moving assets will be treated as realising gains, triggering a tax demand.
A total of some NOK52.5bn (€5.2bn) was put into accounts through 2019. Norwegian individuals had set up a total of 662,834 ASK accounts by the end of 2019, of which 80,000 were set up in November and December alone.
The ASK regime was developed to encourage savings in Norway, making it easier for individuals to save in equities and equity funds - similar regimes have been set up in Sweden (ISK) and Denmark (ASK). The account acts as a tax efficient wrapper, meaning any purchases or sales of assets within the account can be done without triggering a tax payment. Only once assets are taken out of the account is tax applied.
The table below indicates the number of ASK accounts by provider in the Norwegian market.