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Japanese asset managers ratchet up scrutiny of board nominees

TOKYO -- Asset management firms in Japan are increasingly coming out against director candidates at underperforming companies amid lackluster portfolio returns.

Votes against and abstentions from resolutions to appoint directors totaled 23,000 cases at general shareholders meetings this June, according to data collected by Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities on 83 Japanese asset management companies. The proportion of votes against reached 10.5%, up for a second straight year. By comparison, such resolutions traditionally have been approved with more than 95% of the vote in most cases.

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