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Economy

Rules alone won't ensure good governance in Asia

The region must embrace transparency to truly supervise corporate conduct

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A man walks in a Bangkok business district.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- The world is moving toward standardized regulations and codes of conduct for corporate governance. But while the rules themselves may be increasingly similar, their effects vary from one market to another, reflecting differences not only in levels of market development but also in business cultures.

Japan introduced a Stewardship Code for institutional investors in 2014 and a Corporate Governance Code for publicly traded companies in 2015. The former has spurred major institutional investors to begin disclosing how they voted on each proposal at general shareholders meetings of the companies they invest in. That, in turn, has led to more uncompromising proxy votes by those fund managers, including "nays" for board-member candidates.

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