The first stewardship code was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2010, with the objective of enhancing the quality of engagement between asset managers and companies to help improve long-term risk-adjusted returns to shareholders. In early 2014, Japan was the first country in Asia to introduce a stewardship code. The International Corporate Governance Network has launched a Global Stewardship Code.
Although stewardship codes are not compulsory, they are increasingly viewed as a condition if companies wish to retain business. Japan’s largest pension fund GPIF, for example, requires its asset managers to be a signatory to the Japanese Stewardship Code.