METRICAL:Corporate Government Rating of Japan’s 1,800 Companies (July 2020)

So far, we have been conducting analysis focusing on the relationship between improvement of corporate governance and stock price and key performance measures (ROE, ROA). This is the reason that we are keeping close eyes on the enhancement of corporate governance in the perspective of long-term investors. In addition, we decided to analyze the key performance measures based on the past 3 years average ROE and ROA from this month, as maximizing the shareholder value for the long-term or sustainability is a common goal of public companies and shareholders.

It goes without saying that the stock price is one of the important indicators of a public company. In the previous monthly letter as well, I mentioned that the disclosure information of IRs and shareholder meetings is highly correlated with stock prices (Tobin’s Q), key performance measures (ROE, ROA), and comprehensive corporate governance scores. Information disclosure is a very important starting point for management transparency. In fact, the stock price also shows the results of efforts to disclose the above information. Metrical reshuffles the composites of the top 20 companies based on the total corporate governance score as of July every year and provides the performance comparison between CG Top20 stock prices and the stock market indices (TOPIX, JPX400) monthly. It was this month in July that we reviewed the 20 composite companies (the corporate governance score itself changes each month). Lately, the members of the composite companies of CG Top 20 changed from the limited large companies for several years ago, as we expanded the universe from slightly more than 500 companies to 1,800 companies and other companies are willing to improve the corporate governance. This year, 6 companies have been replaced since last year. The 4 completely new companies are Shionogi Pharmaceuticals, Meitec, Kenedix, Net One Systems and NSD. Kakaku.com and Omron returned to the top 20 club again, raising the scores.

METRICAL:June-Stock Market Changed Significantly Due to Concerns of Coronavirus. CG Top 20 Stock Price Outperform Against Topix and JPX400.

In June 2020, the stock market price continued to rise in the first half of the month, following the favorable sentiment that economic activity resumed from the previous month. Since the number of new coronavirus-infected persons has increased worldwide, it has become a nervous development from the middle of the month and has a large up and down amplitude.

Both Topix and JPX400 stock indexes have fallen slightly to -0.12% and -0.01%, respectively, over the past month. CG rating score Top 20 stock price is +0.47%, outperforming both stock indexes significantly.

METRICAL: Corporate Governance Report in English

The AGM season for the March fiscal year end companies is approaching as most of Japanese companies hold it in June, while some companies cannot have finalized the financial reporting yet due to the spread of novel coronavirus infectious diseases (COVID-19). In recent years, an increasing number of companies have moved the date of the AGM up from the end of June (historically majority of companies have held it on Thursday of the last week in June), and many companies are providing and disclosing notices of convocation of general meetings of shareholders in English. Also, although the articles of incorporation must be changed, an increasing number of companies are allowing electronic voting. These are very good initiatives for shareholders and investors. Metrical evaluates how the companies enhance the IR information disclosure as well as such above items as the AGM/IR criteria. For reference, the correlation between AGM/IR factor and key performance measures such as ROE (actual), ROA (actual) and Tobin’s Q is shown below. Especially in Tobin’s Q, the significant positive correlation of this factor is remarkable. Obviously, a company with a higher AGM/IR scores, such as higher IR information disclosure and accessibility to annual general meeting of shareholders would be traded at a higher share price in the market. This result could encourage those who are in charge of IR at a public company above all.

METRICAL: May – Stock Prices Rose Sharply and CG Top20 Stock Price Rises

The market price in May 2020 was favorable to the resumption of economic activity and continued to rise sharply from the previous month. The stock market rose sharply for the second straight month following the rise in US stock prices, which was greatly appreciated by the news of the progress of the new corona vaccine clinical trial. Both Topix and JPX400 stock indexes have risen 6.75% and 7.17%, respectively, over the past month. CG rating score Top 20 stock price is 3.54%, underperforming both stock indexes.

METRICAL: Study on Committees

Over the past year, an increasing number of companies have set up nomination and compensation committees. In order to improve transparency and objectivity and considering the continuity of management, establishing these committees is a key issue in enhancing corporate governance. Due to the request of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, many companies have moved to set up advisory committees lately. On the other hand, only a limited number of companies have moved to the organization structure of a company with 3 statutory committees for the same period.

Based on the data of approximately 1,800 companies, we will show how far companies have progressed in setting up the committees for the past 2 years since March 2018. As shown the chart below, compared to March 2018 and April 2020, the number of companies with statutory nominating committee and compensation committee increased modestly from 65 companies/all 1,796 companies to 68 companies/all 1,753 companies in total. It obviously shows how difficult the companies consider moving to the structure with 3 statutory committees. On the other hand, as for the optional (advisory) committees, an increasing number of companies have set up the nomination committee and compensation committee. The number of companies with optional (advisory) nomination committee increased from 550 companies /1,731 companies (31.8% of all companies excluding the companies with structure having 3 statutory committees) as of March 2018 to 949 companies/1,685 (56.3% of all companies excluding the companies with structure having 3 statutory committees as of April 2020. Similarly, the number of companies with optional (advisory) compensation committee increased from 609 companies/1,731 companies (35.2% of all companies excluding the companies with structure having 3 statutory committees) as of March 2018 to 992 companies/1,685 companies (58.9% of all companies excluding the companies with structure having 3 statutory committees) as of April 2020.

METRICAL: April – Prices Rose But CG Top 20 Slightly Underperforming

The market price in April 2020 has recovered significantly from the previous month when it continued to decline significantly due to concerns over the spread of new corona infections. The world market price turned to an increase as the US stock prices rose from expectations for good clinical trials of corona drugs. Both Topix and JPX400 stock indexes have risen for the first time in four months since January, recovering 4.54% and 4.60% respectively in the last month. CG rating score Top20 stock price was slightly underperforming with 4.15%. The volatility (standard deviation) for the current month is 7.65%, 7.74%, 4.11% for Topix, JPX400, and CG Top20 stocks, respectively.

METRICAL: Willingness to Change

We have observed the number of female directors as a key factor on board practices to measure how a company is willing to change. The table below shows the correlation analysis between the number of female directors and performance key measures such as ROE (actual), ROA (actual) and Tobin’s Q on the 1,755 companies as of March 31, 2020. We have seen the statistically significant positive correlation between ROE (actual or results) and the factor since we started the correlation analysis with correlation analysis with BDTI in 2017. Now, the factor shows the sign of significance to ROA (actual or results) in this month, updating the data of December fiscal year end companies after AGMs.

METRICAL: March – Prices Fell Sharply But CG Top20 Stocks Outperformed

The market price in March 2020 continued to fluctuate with high fluctuations due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus around the world. Approximately half of the sharp decline by mid-month recovered at the end of the month. Both Topix and JPX400 stocks have fallen sharply in March for the month of -6.46% and -6.79% respectively. The Top20 CG rating score was -6.22%, outperforming the previous month at -0.30% compared to the two main stock indices, with a lower rate of decline. By the way, the stock prices of the ten companies with the top 10 CG rating scores were -1.44%, which was even smaller.

METRICAL: February prices fell sharply due to concerns about the spread of Coronavirus. CG Top20 stock outperforms last month, keeping pace with Topix and JPX400

In February 2020, prices fell sharply in the world’s major stock markets by the end of the month, fearing that the spread of the coronavirus could spread to various parts of the world. Both Topix and JPX400 stock indices have fallen sharply to -0.59% and -0.57% respectively in the month of February. The Top20 CG rating score was -0.38%, outperforming the previous month, keeping the decline rate lower than both major stock indices. The stock prices of the 10 companies with the top 10 CG rating scores fell even less, at -0.34%.