GLOBAL - Japanese companies are beginning to take notice of investor demands for better corporate governance, Isis Asset Management claims.
Isis, which each year writes to all companies where it has cast votes at an annual general meeting, reported a ‘notable increase’ in the volume and quality of debate from Japanese companies in its funds.
This year, Isis wrote to three-quarters of its investments and focused on four key issues: balanced boards, board committee structure, disclosure of payments to directors, and share repurchase terms.
Head of governance and socially responsible investment Karina Litvack said the concerns raised “seem to have struck a chord”. She added: “Companies such as Dentsu, Sanin Godo Bank, Kao Corporation and Nisshinbo Industries have all seized on these questions and debated the points vigorously, which is a good sign.
“Their responses clearly show that awareness of corporate governance is on the rise in Japan, but they also demonstrate that investors need to speak up and express their views if there is to be any meaningful debate.”
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