The Nobel Foundation
The Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 and is responsible for the financial management of the capital in the prize fund. The Foundation is headed by a Board of Directors with its headquarters in Stockholm. It consists of a total of six Swedish and (since 1985) Norwegian nationals, appointed by the respective prize-awarding committees. The Board elects the Nobel Foundation's Executive Director.
The capital was for a long time invested in so-called gilt-edged bonds. Financial market developments gradually made such bonds less satisfactory as investments. In the earliest decades, the real value of the fund fell steadily. From 1953 onwards, amendments to the Nobel Foundation's statutes permitted more active asset management. Despite periods of rapid inflation, the capital value was not only successfully maintained but even increased. The 1980s and the first half of the 1990s in particular saw a significant increase in the real value of the Foundation's investments. In 1987, for the first time, the fund's real value was greater than in 1901. At the end of 2007, the nominal market value of the fund's investments stood at an estimated SEK 3.6 billion.
Changes in the value of the fund are reflected in the amount of the Prize. In 1901, the Nobel Prize money amounted to SEK 150,782. In 1923 it reached its lowest nominal sum, just under SEK 115,000. Thanks to the more active asset management, the nominal value of the Prize rose from over SEK 175,000 in 1953 to 1 million in 1981, 2 million in 1986, 4 million in 1990, 7 million in 1994 and 10 million in 2001. Because of inflation, however, the real value did not increase correspondingly; sometimes, indeed, as in the 1970s, it even fell a little. Not until 1991 did the real value of the Prize money (SEK 6.5 million) exceed what it had been in 1901.
© Foto: The Nobel Foundation
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