View all services
ICGN Seoul Conference Summary

08 November 2022

ICGN Seoul Conference Summary

The International Corporate Governance Network (IGCN) conference took place on the 5th and 6th of October 2022 in Seoul, Korea hosted by Korea Exchange & the Korea Institute of Corporate Governance and Sustainability.

The purpose of the conference was to provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss their insights on the latest governance practices, investor stewardship and the development of capital markets, with a focus on Asia.

This year, approximately 400 attendees including global institutional investors, international organisations, government agencies and corporations joined the event. Agenda topics included governance considerations given how geopolitics are changing; best practice approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion; the increasing convergence of sustainability reporting standards; and the importance of investor engagement.

The Morrow Sodali team hosted a session to discuss global standards for investor engagement. The session focused on the importance, effectiveness and latest trends in engagement activities and investor expectations with panellists from BlackRock, Hanwha Asset Management, Korea Investment Corporation and Shinhan Financial Group.


Panellists discussed why investor engagement is more important than ever for companies in communicating their purpose, long-term strategy and approach to sustainable value creation. To deepen the relationships with their investors and other stakeholders, boards are becoming ever more involved in the process. Communication with investors no longer takes place solely for the purpose of communicating financial results ahead of the annual meeting. Increasingly, proactive and regular engagement with the board of directors assists investors in evaluating a company’s value proposition, culture, risk management and governance arrangements.

Other observations from the conference included:

  • There are still significant regional differences in ESG maturity and approaches, for example, with diversity and inclusion. It is only in recent years that the importance of gender diversity has been emphasised in Asia. Whereas, in Europe, it has been a longer term focus and, with positive progress made, investors have now shifted their attention toward cultural diversity. Attendees agreed that investors in Europe tend to put more focus on ESG topics than those in other regions and that, while global attention is heavily focused on the 'E', European investors have already expanded the scope of their interest to the 'S', particularly as the pandemic heightened awareness of social risks. European trends are seen as foreshadowing similar developments to come in the Asian market.
  • With ever-increasing demand for, and interest in, ESG there has been rapid surge in companies voluntarily participating in ESG disclosure through sustainability reporting. The panellists unanimously pointed out that while companies are busy keeping up with the demands of a fast-growing market and current trends, they should not forget the most important element of reporting – it is not about quantity but quality. Stakeholders do not want a report that simply lists information, but an informative and transparent report that is useful to decision-making processes.
  • Market demands of sustainability reporting are not only increasing, but also evolving. There have been growing calls for making disclosure of sustainability performance mandatory and introducing a global sustainability disclosure standard with an assurance system like IFRS for financial reporting. Some panellists argued that mandatory reporting should be approached with caution considering the potential impact on small to medium sized companies with limited resources.

The conference reaffirmed that demand for, and aspiration of, sustainable growth from the market is expanding and accelerating faster than anticipated amid growing political and economic uncertainty. And, investor engagement requests to evaluate corporate sustainability and the demand for more sophisticated and accurate sustainability reports are also accelerating and evolving.

Download now
For further inquiries
Contact us
Contact us

Please complete this form to be contacted by a Morrow Sodali representative.