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Activist investors make an impact in Asia

Asia_globeActivist investors are becoming more zealous in Asia despite a recent stock market rally that has dampened their activity. In the first six months of the year, 38 Asian companies faced activist demands, according to data compiled by Activist Insight, a UK-based research organisation. By year end, the firm expects the number to rise to 65, which is less than last year's total of 78 but greater than the amounts for 2013 and 2014. The numbers are probably underestimates, says Paolo Frediani, the report author, who writes that “[Asian] institutional investors’ aversion to public spats ensures that most activism happens through behind-the-scenes negotiations, which elude the statistics”. Japanese companies faced 17 shareholder demands this year, the largest of any Asian country, according to Activist Insight. Shareholders may have been encouraged by prime minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to promote good stewardship as part of his Abenomics reform programme. Across the continent, “new funds are being launched and investors are becoming more daring in  pushing the boundaries of what can be demanded of boards and managers”, said Frediani. ©2017 funds global asia

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