RI Asia 2016: Glass Lewis in proxy information tie-up with Japan’s data giant QUICK

New partnership announced at RI Asia event in Tokyo today

Proxy firm Glass Lewis has signed its second partnership in a week with a new arrangement to supply Japanese financial data giant QUICK.

The deal was announced at the RI Asia event held at the Tokyo Stock Exchange today (February 23).

Last week the San Francisco-based company announced a “strategic partnership” on environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and ratings with research house Sustainalytics, as first reported by Responsible Investor.

The new link with QUICK, part of the giant Nikkei group which last year acquired the Financial Times, comes amid a strengthening of corporate governance and stewardship in Japan as Prime Minister Shinzō Abe tries to kick-start the economy.

The ‘third arrow’ of Abenomics has seen the creation of the Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors, a stewardship code based on the UK model as well as its own version of the Kay Review – the Ito Review – and a corporate governance code.

An element of this push is for investors to exercise their voting rights at company annual general meetings.

Alongside this, the influential Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world’s largest asset owner, has embraced ESG and signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).In 2014 the GPIF awarded a contract to QUICK and others to undertake research into ESG and stewardship.

Under the arrangement announced today, QUICK will begin distributing Glass Lewis data in May to asset owners and asset managers. Users will have access to proxy research on more than 30,000 companies in major markets (including about 2,000 Japanese ones). QUICK said it would assist in investors being able to make “more precise proxy voting decisions”.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Financial Services Agency and the Japan Exchange Group have published a new report looking at how corporate boards are implementing corporate governance changes.

They said that more 3,500 listed companies have explored the state of their corporate governance, and that more than 2,500 companies – some 70% of Japan’s listed companies – have disclosed their responses to the new code as of December 2015.

They said many Japanese companies are now working toward their AGMS “by examining director candidates and preparing for the evaluation of the board effectiveness”. QUICK’s ESG site is available here (Japanese).