A set of standards that help set expectations for asset managers and asset owners on oversight and engagement with investee companies. These codes are established by local regulators on a country by country basis.
The first stewardship code was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2010, with the objective of enhancing the quality of engagement between asset managers and companies to help improve long-term risk-adjusted returns to shareholders.
In early 2014, Japan was the first country in Asia to introduce a stewardship code. The International Corporate Governance Network has launched a Global Stewardship Code.
Although stewardship codes are not compulsory, they are increasingly viewed as a condition if companies wish to retain business. Japan’s largest pension fund GPIF, for example, requires its asset managers to be a signatory to the Japanese Stewardship Code.