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April 27, 2021 23:00 UTC

Tricor & Financial Times Board Director Programme Report Reveals Critical Gaps for Boards in Japan in Digital Governance, Cybersecurity and Risk Management

TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tricor Group and the Financial Times Board Director Programme co-released the inaugural Asia Pacific Board Director Barometer Report, uncovering board sentiments on COVID-19 disruptions globally with a focus on Japan and other APAC markets.

According to the 2021 Asia Pacific Board Director Barometer Report:

  • Corporate boards are struggling to keep pace with rising digital adoption and transformation pressures against the turbulent headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Business continuity planning (BCP) and corporate governance, risk & compliance (GRC) are weighing on board directors, rising to the top of corporate board priorities.
  • Corporate boards are not equipped to support effective hybrid meeting models, which are expected be the most favoured operating model post-pandemic.
  • The digital divide is continuing to widen, and corporate boards are falling behind, highlighting operational and security risks and inefficiencies.
  • Gaps in cybersecurity threaten corporate board operations and integrity.

The 2021 Asia Pacific Board Director Barometer Report reveals sentiments and actions of board directors across the globe in key areas of digital transformation, cybersecurity, board operations, corporate governance, risk & compliance (GRC) and business continuity planning (BCP). It is an in-depth survey conducted amongst 771 board directors representing a spectrum of start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinational corporations (MNCs), non-profits and listed companies across 12 major industries. The sampling focuses largely on key markets in APAC (including mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Australia) and also incorporates comparative samples from the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Key findings from the report include:

  • BCP and GRC pressures are weighing on boards, with an overwhelming 83% of corporate board directors globally and 84% in APAC citing these as top priorities. Overall, confidence about the handling of the crisis is mixed in APAC and there’s significant room for improvement in some markets: just less than half (45%) of board directors in Japan feel positive about the way their boards have responded – compared with Vietnam (42%), Australia (50%), Hong Kong (51%), Thailand (52%), Malaysia (56%), mainland China (68%) and Singapore (71%).
  • Triggered by the mass virtualization following COVID-19, data security has emerged as a pressing concern for 83% of corporate boards. However, these sentiments have not yet been followed up with corrective action. For example, although 87% of board directors in Japan said data security was an ongoing concern, less than half (48%) had taken dedicated actions during COVID-19 to improve data security, suggesting that a majority of boards are still operating within inadequate, outdated cybersecurity frameworks.
  • Corporate boards in APAC are resistant to engaging the third-party expertise and solutions needed to solve rapidly emerging challenges. While 60% of directors in the Americas reported they would consider engaging third-party expertise to help independently assess GRC and BCP frameworks, APAC was noticeably less receptive with under half (48%) saying they would consider doing so. In Japan, this figure was slightly higher, with 52% of board directors reporting their board would consider third-party expertise and solutions.
  • Corporate boards are unprepared to meet security and efficiency requirements for virtual meetings – both currently and post-pandemic: The massive shift to remote work models was reflected in the survey results, with board directors globally reporting that meetings went from being 5% virtual pre-pandemic to 5% in-person since the outbreak of COVID-19. However, without the tools needed to ensure security and efficiency, many boards are unprepared to operate in a hybrid format, which will be the most popular meeting format post-pandemic. Just 7% of boards in Japan (vs. 5% globally) are currently meeting fully in-person, and only 10% of boards in Japan (vs. 12% globally) plan to meet fully in-person post-pandemic.
  • Concerningly, one in four corporate boards are not taking action to transform business to bridge widening digital adoption gaps. To prepare for a post-pandemic future, 73% of directors globally said their boards are actively exploring new digital tools and Japan and Malaysia surpassed the global average at 78% and 76% respectively. However, these numbers tracked lower in Hong Kong (70%), mainland China (68%) and Singapore (67%) indicating that large segments of corporate boards in the region have not adopted the digital board portals, digital governance tools and solutions needed to shift from surviving to thriving virtually.
  • Board directors are clamouring for more corporate governance training to increase capabilities: 94% of directors globally said they need more training while just 58% are receiving it. These statistics were exactly matched by the survey’s sample of board directors in APAC. In Japan, 94% of directors said they need more training and just 55% are currently receiving it.

Lennard Yong, Tricor Group CEO, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a crisis of epic proportions in APAC and beyond, impacting boards of directors from nearly every organization across all industries. Since the onset of the pandemic, Tricor has received an increasing number of inquiries from organizations looking to fortify board resiliency and adopt digital board governance in the face of ongoing business disruptions. Our expert team, equipped with a wealth of integrated, digital-enabled services and diversified corporate governance solutions, is dedicated to helping boards acclimate in the evolving business environment and thrive in the face of uncertainty.”

Sunshine Farzan, Tricor Group Head of Marketing & Communications, said: “Corporate boards have a fiduciary responsibility to mitigate risk, carefully hedging against catastrophes and outlier events that could overwhelm an organization and threaten shareholders’ investments. But in the face of continuous COVID-19 disruptions, the 2021 Asia Pacific Board Director Barometer Report confirms that board concerns have reached critical mass in cybersecurity, digitization, GRC and BCP. By highlighting impending challenges and outlining key areas for improvement, this report can help boards take the next steps toward business continuity and resiliency.”

Scott Sato, CEO of Tricor Japan, said: “Despite the global economic slowdown, pressures in corporate governance have remained high in Japan since the onset of COVID-19, with 2020 posting a record number of shareholder proposals filed during the country’s annual general meeting (AGM) season. The implications and increased risks associated with virtualization have only increased this pressure, with many boards struggling to adapt or operating without the necessary tools and solutions. At Tricor Japan, we’re committed to helping boards virtualize securely and efficiently, so they can assert the highest standards of corporate governance and raise the bar for operational resilience.”

In addition to the proprietary findings, the 2021 Asia Pacific Board Director Barometer Report also features secondary research findings, key insights, industry analysis, focus area recommendations and best practices to help boards better understand how their contemporaries are navigating the ongoing business disruptions amid the pandemic. To access the full report, please visit www.tricorglobal.com/2021-asia-pacific-board-director-barometer-report.

About Tricor Japan

Japan is a leading centre for innovation and is a highly attractive market for foreign investors. However, it has repeatedly ranked one of the lowest in the world for ease of doing business and there are numerous challenges and potential pitfalls to navigate. So despite the many advantages of investing in the Japanese market, having local help on board from a consulting partner like Tricor Group is essential to the smooth running of an overseas venture. Whether you are looking to set up shop or streamline your current operations, we can help you capitalize on the growing opportunities Japan has to offer.

Tricor Group (Tricor) is the leading business expansion specialist in Asia, with global knowledge and local expertise in business, corporate, investor, human resources & payroll, corporate trust & debt services, fund administration, and strategic business advisory. Strategically headquartered in Hong Kong, we operate out of 21 countries/territories and across a network of 47 offices. Tricor serves 50,000 clients, including ~2,000 companies publicly listed in Asia and over 40% of the Fortune Global 500 companies. With 2,800 employees, we deliver critical functions to help ambitious companies accelerate their growth in Asia and beyond.

Tricor’s advantage comes from deep industry experience, committed staff, technology-driven processes, standardized methodologies, constant attention to changes in laws and regulations and wide industry contacts. Tricor is uniquely positioned to unlock the potential of your business, and help you stay one step ahead of today’s diverse and fast evolving regulatory environment.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.tricorglobal.com/locations/japan


For more information, please contact:
Sunshine Farzan
Tricor Services Limited
Group Head of Marketing & Communications
Tel: +852 2980 1261
Email: Sunshine.Farzan@hk.tricorglobal.com

Akie Hamagishi
Tricor Japan
Director, Corporate Development
Tel: 03-4580-2700 (Representative)
Email: akie.hamagishi@jp.tricorglobal.com

Source: Tricor Group

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