For decades investors have been trying to “unlock” value in Japan. You’ve heard the story: Japanese companies trade below book value, cash on the balance sheet is discounted as investors believe Japan will not invest or overpay for acquisitions, and companies are insulated by allegiant shareholders/cross-shareholdings. However, over the past several years, there has been a solid uptick in the level of activism in Japan. The tailwinds of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, the Stewardship Code, changes in proxy advisor and investor voting policies, combined with “successes” in activist campaigns have led more investors to pursue activism. Concerns have also been raised about new legislation, specifically, FEFTA, intimidation of foreign investors and archaic voting systems. What is the verdict on how all of this will play out in the coming years? Will investors continue to pursue activism in Japan, and if so, what tactics will be most effective? Is there really such a thing as a friendly activist? Are well-governed companies insulated from activism? Do the activists concerned about the long-term sustainability of companies or only the short-term returns? How are situations with foreigners gaining board seats through a proxy fight likely to play out? We’ll take away lessons from recent situations, including Toshiba. Don’t miss this speaker crew with direct involvement in the activist movement.
Date & Time
October 26 / October 27, 2020
4:30 PM Pacific / 8:30 AM Japan
4:28 PM — Zoom tutorial Kendra De Nike | Office Administrator, Japan Society of Northern California
4:30 PM — Opening Remarks Tracy Gopal | Member of the Board, Japan Society of Northern California and Founder, Third Arrow Strategies
4:35 PM — Panel Discussion Ryota Kimura | General Manager, New York Representative Office, Tokyo Stock Exchange; Alicia Ogawa | Professor, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs; James B. Rosenwald III | Managing Partner, Dalton Investments LLC
5:15 PM — Q&A
5:25 PM — Closing Remarks Takahide Akiyama | President, Japan Society of Northern California
Ryota Kimura is a Chief Representative & General Manager of New York Representative Office, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE). The New York office led by Mr. Kimura is responsible for promotion activities related to all products listed on TSE, such as Japanese equities and fixed income products, as well as research activities regarding the securities and derivatives markets in the US.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Kimura was a Head of Product Development, New Listings Department based in Tokyo, Japan. The team was responsible for developing listing rules for structured financial products, such as exchange traded funds (ETFs), exchange traded notes (ETNs), real estate investment trusts (REITs), TOKYO PRO-BOND Market (TPBM), and etc. as well as promoting these structured financial products to the TSE market.
Previously, Mr. Kimura was Senior Manager of Financial Planning, Treasury Department at Tokyo Stock Exchange Group, Inc. for five years and he spent six years at TSE’s Stock Market Department and led the development of trading rules and regulations for cash equity products including ETFs and REITs.
Mr. Kimura receives his MBA from the Darden School at University of Virginia (USA) and his BA in Economics from Waseda University (Japan).
Alicia Ogawa is the director of the Project on Japanese Corporate Governance and Stewardship at Columbia Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business, and an assistant adjunct Professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Since 2008, she has been a consultant to one of the largest U.S.-based activist hedge funds. Until 2006, she was managing director at Lehman Brothers, where she was responsible for managing the firm’s global equity research product. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Professor Ogawa spent 15 years in Tokyo, where she was a top-rated bank analyst and director of research for Nikko Salomon Smith Barneys. She is currently a member of the board of directors of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation; a member of the board of directors of Pure Earth; and a member of the President’s Circle of the All Stars Project, a development program for inner city young people. Ogawa has been inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers, and now is a non-executive director at Tokyo-based Misaki Capital funds as well as at the London-based Nippon Active Value Fund. She is a member of the International Corporate Governance Network. She graduated from Barnard College and earned a master’s degree in international affairs at SIPA.
James B. Rosenwald III
James B. Rosenwald III is the co-founder and managing partner of Dalton Investments LLC, an asset management company headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and adjunct professor at Stern School of Business at New York University. He has more than thirty years of investment experience in the Pacific Rim area.
Moderator: Tracy Gopal
Tracy Gopal, member of the Board of the Japan Society of Northern California, is the founder of Third Arrow Strategies, a corporate governance consultancy which facilitates communications between Japanese companies and foreign investors on ESG issues. She is a frequent speaker on the importance of board composition and the merits of board diversity. She previously spent 15 years in transaction advisory and proxy advisory, predominantly with Ernst & Young and Institutional Shareholder Services. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Honors Economics Program at the University of Michigan and earned her MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She holds a certificate from the Board of Directors Institute in Japan and is fluent in Japanese.