In early December, the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) released the ninth edition of the highly anticipated CG Watch 2018 report, published in collaboration with CLSA. Titled “Hard Decisions: Asia faces tough choices in CG reform”, this biennial regional survey of corporate governance compares and ranks 12 markets in Asia Pacific. Unfortunately, Japan was downgraded from the third position to the seventh position in the report. In this seminar, Jamie Allen, ACGA’s Secretary General will explain the ranking process. He will also talk about how Japan’s fall in ranking in the survey does not mean Japan is “going backwards” on corporate governance. On the contrary, the report recognizes the progress that’s being made in many areas. However, Jamie will clarify how Japan’s regulatory reform needs to focus more on “hard law” (e.g., takeover rules, third-party allotments, collective engagement rules) and not just principles-based “soft law” (CG Code, Stewardship Code). Jamie will carve out a roadmap for the future to bring about cultural or behavioural change on the part of companies, investors and other stakeholders, and will focus on timely issues as the protection of minority shareholders.
In the second phase of the seminar, a panel including Ms. Riwa Sakamoto, of METI’s Corporate System Division, Ms. Fumie Kikuchi, a research analyst of Usonian Investments, LLC, Mr. Ken Hokugo of Pension Fund Association and Nicholas Benes will discuss the issues raised by Mr. Allen and the ACGA, and the changes in government policies or investor expectations that Japanese companies should prepare themselves for.
ACGA, founded in 1999 in Hong Kong, is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to promoting long-term improvements in corporate governance in Asia through research, advocacy and education. While ACGA’s activities cover 12 major markets in Asia-Pacific, their member network spans most continents and comprises more than 110 blue-chip organizations, including global investment institutions, listed companies, insurers, financial intermediaries, professional firms and educational bodies in Asia-Pacific and around the world. ACGA’s investor members manage more than US$30 trillion in assets globally.
Simultaneous interpretation into Japanese will be provided. BDTI is grateful to ACGA for funding this cost.
Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 13:00 – 16:00
Venue: Doshisha University Tokyo Branch Office
(Kyobashi East Bdlg. 3F, 2-7-19, Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
Charge: 5,000 yen (BDTI Participating member 3,000 yen )
Maximum capacity: 70 participants
Mr. Jamie Allen
Secretary General of ACGA
Jamie Allen is the founding Secretary General of the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA), an independent membership association carrying out original research, advocacy and education on corporate governance in Asia since 1999. A published author, he has more than 30 years of experience writing about Asian business, finance, and economics. Prior to founding ACGA, he was a consultant providing customised research to multinational companies. He is one of the main authors of “Awakening Governance: The evolution of corporate governance in China”, a new report published by ACGA in July 2018. His past public service roles include the Public Shareholders’ Group, formed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), and the Listing Committee of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Operations Oversight Committee of the Financial Reporting Council.
Ms. Riwa Sakamoto
Director, Corporate System Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Riwa Sakamoto graduated from Tokyo University’s Law Department in 1995. In 1999 she received a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Harvard Law School, and in 2000 she graduated from the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS). From 2011 to 2014 she served as leader and chief planner at the Social Policy team within METI’s Industrial Policy Division. Between 2014 and 2015, she served as section chief of the New Businesses Creation and Promotion Section of the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, and from 2015 to 2017, she served as Director Chief in charge of commercial transactions as METI’s Commerce Distribution and Industrial Safety Policy Group. She has held her present position as Director, Corporate System Division at METI since July, 2017.
Ms. Fumie Kikuchi
Representative of Tokyo office, Usonian Investments, LLC.
Fumie Kikuchi is a Research Analyst and Representative of Tokyo office of Usonian Investments LLC, an independent investment advisory firm with offices in Chicago and Tokyo. The firm launched in August 2017 when the team spun-out from Advisory Research Inc., the asset management subsidiary of Piper Jaffray & Company. Usonian’s AUM is over $1 billion invested in the firm’s Japan Value Strategy, a pure play, value investment strategy focusing on Japanese equities. Usonian’s governance focused investment approach calls for collaborative engagement with Japanese corporate management. The strategy is represented through a portfolio of high conviction ideas.
Prior to Usonian Investments, she worked as a Research Analyst for the international team of Advisory Research, Inc. From 2005 to 2010, she worked at JPMorgan Asset Management Japan as a client relationship manager, where she mainly worked with Japanese Pension Funds. Fumie holds a B.A. in policy management from Keio University.
Ms. Ken Hokugo
Head of Corporate Governance and Hedge Fund Investments, Pension Fund Association
Ken Hokugo is Director and Head of Corporate Governance at the Pension Fund Association, which is one of the largest public pension funds in Japan, having approximately USD110 billion equivalent in assets under management. He often speaks at conferences and seminars overseas about corporate governance in Japan. Prior to joining the PFA, he worked at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s (“Sumitomo”) Tokyo Head Office, responsible for designing and implementing the strategy for its global asset management business. From 1995 to 2010, he was an executive at Sumitomo’s New York Office, where he mainly worked on special projects, ranging from the bank’s own M&A transactions and major business alliances to research regarding new businesses and asset classes, directly assigned by the office of the CEO. He later took on various portfolio management initiatives to monitor and safeguard shareholder value as the CFO of Sumitomo’s Americas Division. Today, he also is Director, Co-Head, Hedge Fund Investments at the PFA, responsible for its USD5 billion hedge fund portfolio. Mr. Hokugo received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Keio University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Representative Director, The Board Director Training Institute of Japan (BDTI)
Mr. Benes received his B.A. in political science from Stanford University, and a JD-MBA degree from UCLA. He then worked at JP Morgan for 11 years and went on to lead a path-breaking M&A advisory boutique in Japan, JTP Corporation. He is an inactive member of the bar in California and New York. In the past, he served as a twice-elected Governor of the ACCJ, long-time Chair of its FDI Committee and Growth Strategy Task Force; and as a member of the Experts Committee of the Japan Investment Council. He has also served as an independent director at various companies in Japan for a total of more than nine years, and currently is an independent director at IMAGICA GROUP (TSE6879). In 2010, he was a member of the Financial Services Agency’s Corporate Governance Liaison Committee. In 2013, he proposed that the creation of a corporate governance code be included in the LDP’s growth strategy, to be implemented under the auspices of the FSA. He then advised members of the diet and the FSA regarding the content of Japan’s first corporate governance code. In 2016, he proposed changes to the Company Pension Law regulations and guidance, which resulted in a joint study group being formed by the Ministry of Healthy, Labor and Welfare, the Pension Fund Association, experts and institutional investors, and the FSA. The study group issued its report encouraging corporate pension funds to sign the Stewardship Code in March of 2017. He is a member of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.