Martin Currie states commitment to the Korea Stewardship Code

12 November 2018

Since Asia’s financial crisis in 1997, organisations within Korea have been working to improve corporate governance and transparency within chaebol (family-led conglomerates) and other listed companies. Improvements to date can be attributed to a combination of factors, most importantly, ownership changes and deep institutional reforms including strengthening of minority rights and greater representation of outside directors. However, more recent events in Korea, such as Samsung’s Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong being arrested for involvement in a political bribery scandal, have kept corporate governance and stewardship high on the agenda.

In 2016, the Korea Corporate Governance Service (KCGS) established the Korea Stewardship Code. It sets out seven principles that institutional investors, which hold shares of publicly listed companies in Korea, should follow in order to fulfil their fiduciary duties, responsibly managing the assets entrusted by others.

The KCGS expect the code to revitalise Korea’s capital markets via active participation of institutional investors, supporting long-term growth of investee companies and supporting the development of the capital markets and the overall economy.

Martin Currie’s Head of Stewardship and ESG, David Sheasby, comments:
‘Thanks to the work of the KCGS and initiatives such as the stewardship code, corporate governance and transparency in Korea has already started to improve. We are experiencing growing interest from both our Korean clients and investee companies on corporate governance best practice, and so it is timely to show our commitment to the new Korea Stewardship Code as one of its first signatories*.’

At Martin Currie, stewardship refers to how it manages and protects its clients’ assets by monitoring investee companies. This includes engaging with company management on strategy, performance, governance, capital structure and risk management. In adherence to the Korea code, it applies its approach to all companies that it invests in.

To find out how Martin Currie applies the seven principles of the Korea Stewardship Code, please click below

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More information on the Korea Stewardship Code

*23 asset manager participants as at 31 October 2018. Source: Korea Corporate Governance Service