Active Engagement and Regulatory Change in Asia Is Releasing Value for Investors

Asia has seen a great deal of regulatory changes and developments in recent years, with countries such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea making progress in terms of governance and sustainability regulation. These changes have been driven by both government initiatives and the stewardship and engagement of long-term active investors, and have resulted in significant improvements in areas such as environmental protection, corporate governance, and transparency. Here are just a few highlights of the progress made in the last year. For more insight, see the Matthews 2023 Stewardship Report.

Corporate Governance

The significance of robust corporate governance frameworks to foster investor confidence and ensure sustainable economic growth shouldn’t be underestimated. Regulatory reforms and enforcement mechanisms actively promote transparency, accountability, and ethical business practices among corporations.

This drive toward improved corporate governance not only enhances the overall investment climate but also yields positive implications for investors. Companies with stronger governance structures are often more inclined to prioritize shareholder interests, leading to greater shareholder value creation. As a result, companies may increase share-buyback programs and dividend payouts to reward shareholders and attract additional investment.

In India, for example, wide-ranging structural reforms have focused on increasing the ease of doing business, making markets fair, as well as increasing transparency and market efficiency. The number and scope of capital market reforms show that India is serious about corporate governance. Regulators have been largely effective with stewardship codes, disclosure requirements and corporate governance frameworks. The Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report also became mandatory for the top 1,000 Bombay Stock Exchange/National Stock Exchange listed companies in fiscal year 2023, ensuring transparency by mandating various disclosures related to governance and sustainability.