2019 AGM & Conference Agenda

Tuesday, 16 July
08:30 – 09:30
ICGN Committee Meetings
09:30 – 09:50
09:50 – 10:50
ICGN Committee Meetings
10:55 – 11:55
ICGN Committee Meetings
12:05 – 13:20
Hosted Lunch Sessions (sponsored)
13:30 – 15:30
Annual General Meeting
15:30 – 15:55
16:45 – 18:00
Plenary 1: A new era for Japanese corporate governance

In 2018 the Japan Corporate Governance Code was updated, following a revision of Japan’s Stewardship Code in 2017. To what extent have these initiatives led to tangible improvements in practice –reducing cross-shareholdings, enhancing board diversity or promoting awareness of the cost of capital in strategic business decisions? What’s next from policy-makers to ensure long term value creation by companies and investors alike?  

18:00 – 19:00
Press Conference
Wednesday, 17 July
08:00 – 09:30
08:15 – 09:15
Breakfast session: Linking purpose with profits - Creating shared value – Hosted by Nestle

For many years, Nestlé has pursued an approach to business which it calls “Creating Shared Value”.  It is based on the notion that a company can only be successful in the long term, and create sustainable shareholder value, if it also creates value for society.  Many other companies have demonstrated how “doing well” can mean “doing good”.  Increasingly, there is evidence of a positive financial impact.  The breakfast session aims to discuss how linking purpose with profits can not only have a sustained, positive impact on the communities in which companies are present, but lead to higher growth and profitability.

09:30 – 09:40
09:40 – 10:00
Opening Keynote Address
10:00 – 11:00
Plenary 2: Linking sustainable finance to the real economy

In October 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that not enough is being done to avoid irrevocable damage to the planet – in fact instead of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, world consumption of oil, coal and natural gas is increasing. How are governments supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in alignment with TCFD disclosure requirements? Should other markets follow the Bank of England’s lead and impose rules requiring a senior executive to take charge of climate change risks? What lessons can we learn from the Canadian experiences of carbon offsetting? How is the EU Action Plan linking sustainable finance to the real economy?

11:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:30
Plenary 3: Strengthening the power and influence of independent directors

Independent Directors, free from external influence, offset the domination of decision-making from any single individual in the boardroom. How can the role of independent directors in Japan and around the world be strengthened to mitigate an overly powerful Chairman or CEO?  What measures can be implemented to ensure effective oversight of CEO remuneration? And what steps should be taken to improve corporate governance disclosures – approved by the Board? Is there an optimal proportion of independent directors for a board to be truly effective? 

12:30 – 13:30
Networking Lunch
13:45 – 14:45
Hosted Sessions
Session A Hosted by: Japan Shareholder Services
Session B Hosted by: Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management
Session C: People, culture and long-term value metrics Hosted by EY

People and culture are priority issues for boards and investors concerned about long-term value.  As technology disrupts the workplace, how are best practices in human capital management changing?  How are Japanese companies interpreting the revised Japan Corporate Governance Code’s emphasis on the board’s role vis-à-vis organizational culture?  Measuring intangibles is difficult, but not impossible, as demonstrated by the work of the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC).  How can consistent metrics advance understanding of whether culture and strategy are aligned?

Session D: The power of trust - Is confidentiality the differentiating factor in shareholder engagements in Japan? Hosted by GO Investment Partners & Tokio Marine

Most activist shareholders share their agenda publicly and widely.  It has been said that “unless you beat management into submission and you are seen to do so, you are not really engaging”.

Our panel discusses whether an alternative model that respects trust and confidentiality is essential everywhere and  especially in Japan.

15:00 – 15:30
16:30 – 17:30
Plenary 4: Reforming corporate disclosure and audit for 21st Century reporting

In Japan efforts are underway to provide better corporate reporting to address long term risks and opportunities. What can be learnt from other initiatives such as the UK’s Strategic Business Report? What measures are regulators taking to help ensure market confidence, integrity and transparency? What are the roles and responsibilities of the board and the management in the corporate reporting model in 21st century?  How can reporting systems and processes be improved to ensure the credibility of reporting? 

18:00 – 20:00
Annual Conference Dinner
Thursday 18 July
08:00 – 09:30
08:15 – 09:15
Breakfast Session
09:30 – 10:00
10:00 – 11:00
Plenary 5: Shareholder primacy versus stakeholder primacy: is there an optimal model?

Western democracies are increasingly challenged by stakeholders demanding a greater voice in holding companies to account. This is evidenced in the UK Corporate Governance Code and mooted in the proposed USA’s ‘Accountable Capitalism Act.’ Japanese companies are accustomed to responding to the interests of the workforce (some might say at the expense of shareholders). How do boards promote the success of the company in the interests of shareholders and relevant stakeholders in various markets? What are the implications for collective board responsibility when specific interest groups are represented? Who is most able to hold companies to account and keep a check and balance on corporate governance – shareholders or stakeholders?

11:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:30
Plenary 6: Leadership perspectives: role and effectiveness of asset owners and their managers in corporate governance oversight

The concept of investor stewardship is now formalised in multiple markets around the world as a key discipline to effective corporate governance oversight. What are leaders of investment insititutions doing to ensure that best practice principles are adopted in practice? How assertive are asset owners in assessing the performance of their managers who act on their behalf? What are the impediments to effectively holding companies to account, for example through voting and engagement?  

12:30 – 13:30
Plenary 7: Corporate board responsibility for managing systemic risk in times of uncertainty

Systemic risks present challenges to corporate boards way beyond the ordinary course of business. How are corporate boards equipped to deal with environmental risks such as climate change, water scarcity, pollution and natural disasters? What about social risks culminating from human migration, resulting in a rise in populist movements around the world?  How ready are we for technological innovations such as autonomous cars and e-commerce which are set to shape our future? 

13:30 – 14:30
Networking Lunch
14:45 – 15:45
Hosed Sessions
Session E Hosted by: MSCI
Session F Hosted By: Deloitte
Session G Hosted By: TBA
15:45 – 16:15
16:15 – 17:15
Plenary 8: The future beyond 2020

Corporate governance and responsible investment practices evolve as markets globalise and adapt to new environments, technologies and demography. This creates uncertainty but also opportunity. Populations are ageing and are more divided as the gap grows between the rich and poor. Economic power is shifting from West to East while both grapple with perhaps the biggest challenge yet – how to deal with climate change. What does this mean for the way we do business, the way we invest and the way we regulate and what does the future hold beyond 2020?

Close of Conference