Japans domestic asset management reports are not disclosing the way they vote on various resolutions brought up at annual shareholders meetings, according to the Nikkei Report. That disclosure could significantly improve corporate governance.
Since 2003, asset management firms in the U.S. have been required to produce reports on voting records, including their position on each resolution regarding all firms in which they invest.
However, in Japan, the mutual fund industry's only way to gauge the overall voting behavior of asset managers is by using a questionnaire, which is vague at best.
Thus, the overall stance of asset managers in Japan remains a well-kept secret.
"I'm not even sure that investors are interested in voting disclosures," said a senior official at a major domestic asset management firm in Japan.
According to mutual fund consultant Takeshi Tamura, retail investors who buy mutual funds in Japan seem to be relatively unaware that when they do so, they indirectly become shareholders. If asset mangers were to disclose voting records, the overall awareness of investors might increase, and this could lead to stronger corporate governance in the future.