Metrical:”How Fast has Japan’s Corporate Governance Improved? “

Some research organizations reported that Japanese companies have enhanced the corporate governance and others say the improvement wasn’t higher than expectations. Then, how fast has the corporate governance in Japan made progress for a few years? There would be different perspectives on which criteria each person focus. We would like to show one of the easiest ways that we can see the progress. It is the % of Independent Outside Directors (INEDs) of the board of directors (BOD) that shows very well how fast corporate governance in Japan has improved.
Please see the following 2 charts. The first pie chart shows the number of companies of >50% INEDs and =<50% INEDs in the BOD, respectively as of November 2019. The total number of companies was the companies METRICAL INC. covers as the core research universe (most of companies are listed TSE-1st Section and/or JPY10 billion market cap). A number of companies are included in the =<50% INEDs if other small companies than METRICAL's universe are included. In case, the % of the >50% INEDs in the pie chart will decrease significantly.

Metrical:”Ex-CEO advisors”

This month METRICAL shows how the disclosure about ex-CEO advisors has progressed from a year ago. As shown the table below, in October 2018, 829 companies on METRICAL’s research universe disclosed the number of ex-CEOs (ex- Representative Directors) who retained positions as “advisor” in the company after stepping down as CEO. Of these companies that voluntarily disclosed, 474 companies had ex-CEO advisors. A year later in October 2019, a total of 894 companies disclosed the number of ex-CEOs who retained such advisory positions seat in the company after stepping down from the top management position. Of these 894 companies, 503 companies had ex-CEO advisors in October 2019.

Correlations Between Governance Factors and Foreign Ownership

While overseas investors’ ownership decreased a year ago, activist investors are now likely to focus on Japanese companies. Corporate governance in Japan has improved since the Corporate Governance Code was introduced in June of 2015, but progress is much slower than foreign investors hoped. At this time, we analyze the relationship between % ownership held by overseas investors and key governance criteria. The following table shows the result of our regression analysis of the 13 governance factors that METRICAL uses as criteria and two performance measures, ROE and ROA. Of the 15 factors, 14 factors are significantly correlated with level of ownership by overseas investors.

METRICAL/BDTI:Ratings of 1,800 companies (July 2019 Update)

In our July ratings, a more nuanced pictured emerged for Japanese companies. The significantly positive correlation of financial performance with the percentage of INEDs and the number of Female Directors disappeared this month, suggesting that an increasing number of non-superior performers are “copying” other companies in this respect, and/or have only only done so recently so no positive impact (should there be any) is discernible.

METRICAL:Corporate Governance Rating of Japan’s 1,800 companies (June 2019)

“Policy Stockholdings”
Many companies set the fiscal year to end at the end of March and hold their AGM in June. Those companies file Yuho financial reports by the end of June. According to the Yuho reports, we are able to lots of new data at this time. Among the data, in this post we will focus on ”policy stock” holdings, also known as “allegiant shareholdings”.

The average holding of “policy stocks” was JPY34,861 million for 1,775 companies, which has come down 13.7% from JPY40,389 million a year as the average of the 1,794 companies in our universe. Of course, we should carefully analyze these numbers, but the decrease of the stock holding was larger than the change in the stock index Topix for the same period. The Topix fell 7.3% from 1,716.30 on March 31 2018 to 1,591.64 on March 31 2019.

METRICAL: CG Top 20 stocks slightly underperformed in May… and a focus on board chairs

Chair of the Board of Directors
We would like to highlight the function of the chair of the board. Of about 1,800 companies, only 27 companies are chaired by an outside director. This indicates just how resistant inside directors are in entrusting the position of chair of the board to an outside director. The table below shows the 27 companies.

Corporate Governance of Japan – Linkage Between CG and Value Creation (October 2018)

BDTI/METRICAL updated their research series on “Corporate Governance in Japan – Linkage Between CG and Value Creation” as of October 2018. The joint research has analyzed how board practice criteria and action criteria statistically correlate with value creation measures such as ROA, ROE and Tobin’s Q.  An increasing number of criteria or factors of CG show statistically significant correlation with ROE, ROA and Tobin’s Q.  Also, the analysis of the correlation between the percentage of INEDs and the performance measures revealed a J-curve relationship (layered structured, in three groups).  We will keep a close eye on how board practice and actions impact on performance.