Analysis: No Longer Silent, Japan Asset Managers Flex Muscle in Legacy to Abe

Japan's asset managers nudged the volume up another notch at shareholder meetings this year, increasingly opposing management proposals and adding momentum to a policy of attracting foreign investors. 25 July 2022 Analysis: No Longer Silent, Japan Asset Managers Flex Muscle in Legacy to Abe

Makiko Yamazaki of Reuters carries out a deep-dive analysis of stewardship activities of local asset managers within the Japanese market. Nikko Asset Management, Asset Management One and others have become distinct voices in Japan’s new-found activism, countering foreign criticism of asset managers’ rubber-stamp voting.

Foreigners lead shareholder activism in Japan with domestic asset managers mainly playing a supportive role, though some investors are reported to have said they hope domestic managers will take more initiative and make their own proposals for company management. Some domestic asset managers supported Oasis which queried related-party transactions at Fujitec Co Ltd (6406.T) and opposed a management proposal to nominate its chief executive to the board of directors. In another vote this year, Singapore-based 3D Investment Partners’ campaign to bring its nominees onto the board of IT firm Fuji Soft Inc (9749.T) received unexpectedly high support of nearly 40%.

SquareWell’s latest study focused on the Japanese market was also referrenced in the article. As noted in SquareWell’s research, domestic asset managers have been less supportive of company management than some global peers. Average support rates from 2019 to 2021 stood at 95.9% at Asset Management One, 94.2% at Nikko Asset Management and 88.9% at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. That compared with 99.9% and 99.7% at U.S. peers Vanguard and BlackRock respectively.

The full article can be access here.


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