While shareholder activism activity in the U.S. has recently leveled off, activity outside of the country continues to increase significantly. In 2018 we saw an increase in activist campaigns in Europe and Canada, but perhaps the largest increase was seen in Asia Pacific countries Japan, Korea and Australia. Activism in Asia reached a record high, and shows no signs of slowing down, and it’s clear that activism in Asia Pacific will continue to grow as western investors are diving into a market that was largely untapped.  

Until recently, Asian companies have typically resisted listening to shareholder activist ideas, but the tide is changing. Company management and boards are starting to realize that they need to be their own internal activist and make preparations before they ever attract the attention of a western investor. What types of initiatives, assessments, engagement programs and communication strategies should they be instituting to position themselves properly, and what should they do when an activist comes calling?

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The Rise of Shareholder Activism in Asia Pacific conference attracts fund managers, institutional investors, corporate advisory firms, proxy advisors, corporate executives and board members. Attendees will explore the challenges and opportunities present in Asia Pacific and learn how to navigate the hurdles associated with exerting influence in the region.

Who attends:

  • Hedge Fund Managers
  • Investment Bankers
  • Institutional Investors
  • Shareholder Activists
  • Corporate Advisory Firms
  • Proxy Solicitors and Advisors
  • Corporate Law Firms
  • Investor Relations Professionals
  • Executives, Chairmen & Non-Executive Board Members


James Rosenwald
Dalton Investments

Naran Burchinow
The Andersons, Inc.

Tsuyoshi Maruki
Strategic Capital Inc.


State of the Market: Insurgent Investors Arise in Asia Pacific

Investors in Asian companies have traditionally taken a more passive approach, with public criticism of the company being rare. Complex ownership structures, cross-shareholding, government participation and family control have always insulated corporations, but now they have become targets of criticism by shareholder activists. As western activists look to Asia for new opportunities, and domestic investors are becoming more comfortable with the concept, management teams and boards in the region are being forced to listen. This panel will explore the current state of shareholder activism in Asia Pacific.

Panelist: David Hunker, Managing Director, Head of Shareholder Activism Defense, J.P. Morgan
Panelist: James Lim, Senior Research Analyst, Asia Equity Research Team, Dalton Investments

Dynasty Downfalls: Shareholder Activists Surge into South Korea

South Korea's chaebol, or family-run conglomerates Hyundai, Samsung, LG and SK, drive global industries like semiconductors, telecommunications, shipbuilding and automobiles. Yet their poor corporate governance records, byzantine cross-shareholding structures, and hostility to shareholders belie their global success. Recently, the chaebol groups have begun the succession to their third-generation heirs -- a troubled project that has ignited a wave of shareholder challenges and political scandals in South Korea -- including the impeachment of South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye, and the bribery conviction of Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee. As shareholder activists set out to reform the chaebol, Korea Inc. has reached a turning point. Will these industrial titans accede to a growing chorus of shareholders, clearing the road for cleaner governance and higher dividends? Or will they hunker down with their distressed model of dynastic rule?

Speaker: Geoffrey Cain, Investigative Journalist; Author of the Forthcoming Book Samsung Rising from Penguin Random House

The New Age of Activism: Collaboration over Conflict

When an activist calls, companies can respond in variety of ways, and experiences in the U.S. and Europe provide examples of the most effective and successful engagement practices. How should corporate executives and directors respond to and engage with shareholder activist proposals and demands? Should the company dig in and fight or agree to a settlement? What type of governance initiatives should companies be establishing to proactively position themselves and be their own “internal activist”?

Panelist: Naran Burchinow, Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, The Andersons, Inc.
Panelist: Michael Paradise, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Steve Madden

Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:00am – 8:30am

8:30am – 8:35am

Opening Remarks

8:35am- 9:25am

9:25am – 9:55am

Networking Break

9:55am – 10:15am

10:15am – 11:05am


Australia also experienced a record high number of activist engagements in 2018, with 78 companies targeted, perhaps because the legal framework in Australia is activist-friendly. Shareholders with 5 percent of a company can convene a general meeting, and the country’s “two-strikes law” means that an entire company board can face re-election if shareholders disagree with how much executives are being paid. Much of the activism in Australia has mainly targeted small, micro and nano-cap stocks, but the success of Elliott Management’ campaign against BHP could mean that activists could now see opportunity in large-cap stocks.

Panelist: Maria Leftakis, CEO, Australia, Morrow Sodali
Panelist: Jeffrey Pierce, Managing Partner, Snow Park Capital Partners

11:05am – 11:55am

Networking Luncheon

11:55am – 1:00pm

Closing Remarks

1:50pm – 2:20pm

1:00pm – 1:50pm

2:20pm – 2:30pm


In 2018, the most heavily targeted country in the region by far was Japan, where 47 corporations were hit with activist campaigns. U.S. and some local activists often target Japanese corporate groups, known as keiretsus, which are large conglomerates that are run by an owner or family. Campaigns often focus on corruption, nepotism or what insurgent managers perceive as hoarding of cash.

Moderator: Alicia Ogawa, Director, Project on Japanese Corporate Governance and Stewardship, Columbia                          Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Panelist: Ryota Kimura, Chief Representative, The Japan Exchange Group
Panelist: Tsuyoshi Maruki, CEO, Strategic Capital Inc.
Panelist: James Rosenwald, Co-Founder, Portfolio Manager, Dalton Investments

Panelist: Christian Sealey, Chief Operating Officer, Australia, Morrow Sodali
Panelist: Dan Underwood, CEO, Ashton Consulting International Corporate Communications Tokyo

Closing Keynote Interview




Alicia Ogawa

Columbia Business School's Center on Japanese Economy and Business

David Hunker
J.P. Morgan

Dan Underwood
Ashton Consulting International Corporate Communications Tokyo

Jeffrey Pierce
Snow Park Capital Partners

James Lim
Dalton Investments


Maria Leftakis
Morrow Sodali

Geoffrey Cain
Author  & Investigative Journalist

Ryota Kimura
The Japan Exchange Group

Christian Sealey
Morrow Sodali