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Asian corporate governance

Sarasin & Partners continues to support efforts to improve minority shareholder protections for investors in Japan. We have been extremely supportive of the government’s efforts to introduce a Corporate Governance Code for listed companies, as well as the Stewardship Code for investors (which we have signed).

More recently we have signed a joint investor letter to the Tokyo Stock Exchange asking that they do not remove the requirement for a full year 'financial statement' supplementary document with the fourth quarter earnings digest. We believe having this information is vital to support our voting decisions, which normally precede the release of the final audited accounts.

In addition, we are supporting a call to regulators for Japanese companies to disclose more details of their cross-shareholdings. This information is critical for investors to be able to understand potential conflicts of interest and defences against shareholder pressure to undertake, for instance, vital restructuring. It also provides information to allow investors to call for these cross-holdings to be reduced. In the end, we believe long-term economic growth in Japan depends on a healthy and competitive corporate sector. We believe changes highlighted here will contribute to a more accountable and, thus, more productive economy.