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Sustainalytics opens Tokyo office to tap growing Japanese ESG market

New country presence to support “current and future clients”

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) research house Sustainalytics has opened an office in Tokyo to help it tap into the burgeoning market for ESG in Japan.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘third arrow’ plans, the country has prioritised corporate governance and stewardship to stimulate the economy.

A stewardship code – the Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors – was launched two years ago. This was followed by the country’s first Corporate Governance Code, which came into force in June last year. The government also backed a review, headed by Professor Kunio Ito, that drew on the UK’s Kay Review of short-termism.

And the country’s 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). All told, there are now 11 asset owner signatories to the PRI in Japan.

“The Japanese market has made significant strides over the past three years in both ESG and corporate governance practices, and has rapidly transformed itself into a leader in its commitment to advancing business standards,” said Sustainalytics’ CEO Michael Jantzi.“The progress in Japan has been driven from the top as the Japanese government and large asset owners are actively engaging more than ever with investment managers to ensure that ESG factors are integrated into their investment strategies.”

A Tokyo office would enable the firm to support “current and future clients” in Japan while also expanding its research capabilities.

The research team will be headed by Loic Dujardin and Yumi Fujita, who will move from Singapore. Dujardin is a former senior analyst at Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) while Fujita was with Deloitte before joining Sustainalytics.

Sustainalytics has named former ISS executive James Hawrylak as its Tokyo-based director of institutional relations. Hawrylak, who was head of sales in the Asia-Pacific region for the proxy firm for two and a half years, has had senior roles with IHS Markit, Thomson Reuters and Glass Lewis in Japan. The firm also says it intends to hire additional analysts and client service personnel.