Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust PLC

Japan specialists identifying exceptional companies

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Latest news

An update from our investment manager, Chern-Yeh Kwok - 6 November 2020

Japanese equities fell during the month of October, as the market was weighed down by concerns of rising COVID-19 infections across the world, and halting progress by the U.S. government for further stimulus measures. But similar to earlier in the year, the Japanese market was more resilient compared to other major markets. Small caps marginally outperformed large caps; the yen strengthened against most major currencies.

 

Corporates kicked off the reporting of September-end quarterly earnings, and thus far, results have been largely favorable. If the prior quarter was characterized by restraint, repositioning and prudent cost control, the end September quarter suggests that many of our holdings are undergoing noticeable recoveries, despite operating under still-difficult conditions. This set of results also reaffirmed our view that early prognosis of the pandemic’s impact on Japanese corporates were much harsher than reality. With conditions normalizing for some corporates, share buybacks have started making a comeback, notably for healthcare and telecommunications companies. Dividends at the majority of our holdings have remained at similar levels as a year ago.

 

Nitori Holdings launched a hostile offer to acquire hardware-store operator Shimachu Co., topping a previous proposal from fellow retailer DCM Holdings Co. A successful takeover will allow Nitori to expand in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but this bid is more notable for Nitori’s approach. Hostile takeovers in Japan have largely been taboo and difficult to execute, due to cross shareholdings and weak governance in corporate boardrooms, as well as a general distaste for such corporate activity exhibited by policymakers and the media. While these bids have generally not succeeded, their increasing number in the last year has tested the resolve of corporates in embracing corporate governance. Among the more notable bids was Hoya Corp.’s offer for semiconductor production equipment manufacturer NuFlare Technology in Dec 2019, which was firmly rebuffed by NuFlare’s board; instead, the board recommended a lower bid from NuFlare’s majority shareholder Toshiba Corp. We are shareholders of Nitori Holdings and Hoya Corp.

About us

Japan is home to world-class companies with strong franchises that can play an essential role in any diversified portfolio seeking to deliver long-term growth.

  • Quality companies: we seek to identify world-class Japanese organisations with industry-leading positions that are well positioned to take advantage of the consumption of Asia's rising middle classes.

  • Active engagement: we believe there's no substitute for getting to know your investments first hand, engaging with all companies before we invest in their shares and while we hold them. In our view, good governance, company performance and sound capital management are closely linked.

  • On the ground: with investment specialists based in Japan we have the know-how to understand this diverse and complex market and identify those exceptional companies that are shaping their industries.

Key people

Chern Yeh Kwok

Chern-Yeh Kwok

Head of Investment Management, Japan

Chern-Yeh Kwok is head of Japanese equities having transferred from the Singapore team in January 2011. Chern-Yeh joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2005 from MSCI Barra where he was an equity research analyst.

Chern-Yeh graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia and holds an MSc in Finance from the London Business School.

Hisashi Arakawa

Hisashi Arakawa

Deputy Head of Investment Management, Japan

Hisashi Arakawa joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2016 and is based in the Tokyo office. He has a MPhys in Physics from the University of Oxford and a MBA from INSEAD and is a CFA® charterholder. He was previously vice president in the corporate banking group of Development Bank of Japan.

Flavia Cheong

Flavia Cheong

Head of Equities - Asia Pacific ex Japan

Flavia Cheong is Head of Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity on the Asian Equities team, where, as well as sharing responsibility for company research, she oversees regional portfolio construction. Before joining Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 1996, she was an economist with the Investment Company of the People’s Republic of China, and earlier with the Development Bank of Singapore. Flavia graduated with a BA in Economics and an MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Auckland. She is a CFA charterholder.

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute

  • Chern-Yeh Kwok

    Head of Investment Management, Japan

    Chern-Yeh Kwok is head of Japanese equities having transferred from the Singapore team in January 2011. Chern-Yeh joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2005 from MSCI Barra where he was an equity research analyst.

    Chern-Yeh graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia and holds an MSc in Finance from the London Business School.

  • Hisashi Arakawa

    Deputy Head of Investment Management, Japan

    Hisashi Arakawa joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2016 and is based in the Tokyo office. He has a MPhys in Physics from the University of Oxford and a MBA from INSEAD and is a CFA® charterholder. He was previously vice president in the corporate banking group of Development Bank of Japan.

  • Flavia Cheong

    Head of Equities - Asia Pacific ex Japan

    Flavia Cheong is Head of Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity on the Asian Equities team, where, as well as sharing responsibility for company research, she oversees regional portfolio construction. Before joining Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 1996, she was an economist with the Investment Company of the People’s Republic of China, and earlier with the Development Bank of Singapore. Flavia graduated with a BA in Economics and an MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Auckland. She is a CFA charterholder.

    CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute

Karen Brade

Karen Brade

Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

Karen Brade was appointed a director on 1 May 2013 and assumed the Chair in July 2018. She has over 25 years of investment experience in a range of sectors and markets. She began her career at Citibank, working on various multi-national project finance transactions. Between 1994 and 2004 she was an investment principal at CDC Group plc (the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution) where she directed equity and debt investing, portfolio management, fund raising and investor development including India, South Asia, Africa and China. Since 2005 she has been an adviser to hedge funds, family offices and private equity houses and is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Augmentum Fintech and Chairman of Keystone Investment Trust.

claire boyle

Claire Boyle

Independent Non-Executive Director

Claire Boyle was appointed as an independent non-executive director of the Company with effect from 1 February 2019. She has over 17 years' experience working in finance and equity investment management, working on funds over a wide range of sectors for international corporate, Government, State and retail clients, including unit and investment trusts. She was a partner at Oxburgh Partners LLP with responsibility for their European Equity Hedge Fund, and prior to that a European Equity Fund Manager at American Express Asset Management, where her role included both equity investment and business development. She is a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1993 whilst working in litigation support at Coopers & Lybrand, before starting her investment career on the UK research desk at Robert Fleming. She is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Fidelity Special Values and a director of The Monks Investment Trust.
Sir David Warren

Sir David Warren

Independent Non-Executive Director

Sir David Warren was appointed on 1 December 2015. He had a career in the British Diplomatic Service of over 35 years concentrating on East Asia following his initial Japanese language training, including three postings to Tokyo, and culminating in four and a half years as British Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
silhouette male

Sam Dean

Independent Non-Executive Director

Sam Dean was appointed a director on 1 December 2020. He has a long career in investment banking, working in Equity Capital Markets and corporate finance on behalf of corporate and government clients globally. After starting his career in 1993 at Kleinwort Benson, he subsequently worked as a Managing Director at Citibank (1998-2001), Deutsche Bank (2001-2009), and Barclays (2009-2017). At Deutsche and Barclays, he held senior management positions as Global Head of Equity Capital Markets and Head of Corporate Finance, whilst continuing to work on client transactions.

  • Karen Brade

    Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

    Karen Brade was appointed a director on 1 May 2013 and assumed the Chair in July 2018. She has over 25 years of investment experience in a range of sectors and markets. She began her career at Citibank, working on various multi-national project finance transactions. Between 1994 and 2004 she was an investment principal at CDC Group plc (the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution) where she directed equity and debt investing, portfolio management, fund raising and investor development including India, South Asia, Africa and China. Since 2005 she has been an adviser to hedge funds, family offices and private equity houses and is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Augmentum Fintech and Chairman of Keystone Investment Trust.

  • Claire Boyle

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Claire Boyle was appointed as an independent non-executive director of the Company with effect from 1 February 2019. She has over 17 years' experience working in finance and equity investment management, working on funds over a wide range of sectors for international corporate, Government, State and retail clients, including unit and investment trusts. She was a partner at Oxburgh Partners LLP with responsibility for their European Equity Hedge Fund, and prior to that a European Equity Fund Manager at American Express Asset Management, where her role included both equity investment and business development. She is a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1993 whilst working in litigation support at Coopers & Lybrand, before starting her investment career on the UK research desk at Robert Fleming. She is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Fidelity Special Values and a director of The Monks Investment Trust.
  • Sir David Warren

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Sir David Warren was appointed on 1 December 2015. He had a career in the British Diplomatic Service of over 35 years concentrating on East Asia following his initial Japanese language training, including three postings to Tokyo, and culminating in four and a half years as British Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
  • Sam Dean

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Sam Dean was appointed a director on 1 December 2020. He has a long career in investment banking, working in Equity Capital Markets and corporate finance on behalf of corporate and government clients globally. After starting his career in 1993 at Kleinwort Benson, he subsequently worked as a Managing Director at Citibank (1998-2001), Deutsche Bank (2001-2009), and Barclays (2009-2017). At Deutsche and Barclays, he held senior management positions as Global Head of Equity Capital Markets and Head of Corporate Finance, whilst continuing to work on client transactions.

 

Financial calendar

Year End 31 March
Accounts Published June
Annual General Meeting July
Dividend Paid July, December

Trust details

Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust PLC

Registered Office:
Bow Bells House
One Bread Street
London
EC4M 9HH

Registered in England and Wales as an Investment Company Number 03582911

Launch Date: October 1998

Risk Warning
Risk warning
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. Please refer to the relevant Key Information Document (KID) prior to making an investment decision. Please be aware of scams that can affect investors.