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Competitors join REIT awareness group

Thirty competitors in the commercial property and financial services industries have joined The REITs and Quoted Property Group to increase awareness of Real Estate Investment Trusts and quoted property investment.

To achieve their aim an internet portal and supporting publicity campaign, called Reita, have been created as an impartial source of expert information on quoted property investment, REITs and the funds that will invest in them.

The thirty companies include eight quoted property companies: The British Land Company; Brixton; Grainger Trust; Hammerson; Helical Bar; Land Securities; Slough Estates; and St Modwen Properties.

In addition, eight fund managers have also put aside their competitive differences. These are: AXA Investment Management; Cambridge Place; Cordea Savills; Fidelity International; Henderson Global Investors; ING REIM; Insight Investment; Prudential (PRUPIM) M&G; and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

Investment banks/advisers that have signed up include: Citigroup; Credit Suisse; Deloitte; Goldman Sachs; JP Morgan Cazenove; KPMG; Lehman Brothers; Merrill Lynch IM; Morgan Stanley; and UBS.

Finally, industry bodies the British Property Federation and Investment Property Forum have signed up, as has the London Stock Exchange.

Historically, most investment in quoted property companies has been institutional. The new REITs regime, by exempting eligible quoted property companies from corporation tax, will end the double taxation of the sector, making it attractive to a whole new world of investors who want to hold tax efficient indirect property investments in their portfolios.

In addition to REITs, there are quoted property companies and other vehicles for indirect investment that private investors could consider.

The portal reita.org provides expert knowledge, education and tools for professional financial advisers, other financial specialists and private investors.
reita.org acts as a source of information on the quoted property sector and its various investment opportunities, and contains links to individual providers of investment products.

And because The REITs and Quoted Property Group includes the London Stock Exchange as a member, it provides access to regularly updated share prices and financial histories for all quoted property companies, regardless of their REIT status.

Liz Peace, chief executive at the BPF, a founder member of The REITs and Quoted Property Group, says: The long awaited arrival of UK REITs on New Years Day 2007 marks an important and exciting milestone in property investment in Britain.

It opens up a host of opportunities for property companies, financial services providers, financial advisers and investors to significantly increase the level of investment in the commercial property sector.

But while there is a clear appetite for property among private investors, there is little unbiased information publicly available on REITs and quoted property.

We wanted to create something to fill this gap and we are confident that reita.org will be widely welcomed and used.

Patrick Sumner, chairman of The REITs and Quoted Property Group, adds: We are delighted to have received such tremendous support for the group, which now has the backing of so many senior organisations right across the industry.

Our portal will be the UKs first non-partisan resource for information on REITs and property investment, providing a definitive reference point, covering all the key issues and addressing any questions which the visitor has, whether they are a professional adviser, stockbroker or even a private investor.

Our aim is to really add value to professional advisers business and ensure that reita.org can provide a one-stop resource for comprehensive, non-partisan and regularly updated information.

The subject matter may appear complex to some, but our aim is to expand and educate a wider audience to the benefits of property investment. With such a great team behind us, we are extremely well placed to do this.

David Shrimpton, head of product management and development at the London Stock Exchange, says: “We have had years of speculation about UK REITs.

“Now that they are about to become reality, I am sure that financial advisers and private investors will welcome a comprehensive and neutral source of information, backed by up-to-date financial information from the Exchange about the listed property market.”

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