BDTI and METRICAL are continuing to collaborate on finding “linkages between CG practice and value creation.” METRICAL has recently updated the results of our analysis at the end of October 2019 for about 1,800 listed companies representing a market capitalization of more than 10 billion yen. In this update, we see that the number of […]
“Now, the moment which Japanese stock aficionados have long dreamed has arrived. Pressure on CEOs to champion shareholder value and raise returns on equity are paying off with a bull market in dividends. Even better, it may be just beginning. Those are the signals emanating from Nomura, one of Japan Inc’s most fabled investment houses. Its analyst reckons that dividends doled out by blue-chip companies grouped in Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section hit the US$133 billion mark in August. That’s more than twice what companies were shelling out in 2012. And this windfall is coming even as the global trade war crimps growth and economists warn of a rocky 2020. This raises two pivotal questions. First, can the dividend surge continue? Second, what’s the catch?”
“Japan’s corporate governance reforms are “here to stay” and will likely be good for investors, according to the manager of the AVI Japan Opportunity trust.
Speaking to FTAdviser, Joe Bauernfreund said he thought the reforms brought forward by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were more than a political move and would result in higher returns for investors….”
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.
When you squint closely at the facts, not as much as you might think. Mostly, it is the difference between individual self-dealing and collective self-dealing.
As corporate policy, many Japanese companies re-hire their executive directors as “advisors (“sodanyaku” or “komon“) immediately after they retire from the board. The re-hiring occurs automatically, and the work expected from such “advisors” in their contracts (if any) is usually vague to the point of being non-existent.
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.
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.
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.
At BDTI we liked these pieces written by Konsuke Matsushita so much that we (BDTI) jointly translated them and got permission from PHP Institute to re-publish.
It turns out that “the God of Japanese management” (and the founder of Panasonic) was leery of cross-shareholdings… and was rather modern in his thinking.