• Industry leaders and experts were invited to share and discuss issues that could impact the industry globally as well as domestically.

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 20): The Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA) organised its third REIT forum on Tuesday (Oct 18) to discuss issues faced by the real estate investment trust industry in a challenging global economic and geopolitical landscape.

According to a press statement, industry leaders and experts were invited to share and discuss issues that could impact the industry globally as well as domestically.

MRMA chairman Datuk Philip Ho said: “As we emerged from the pandemic, it was timely that the industry came together at our third REIT forum to discuss issues and reassess our strategies in a very different world, [plus] participants had an opportunity to meet the CEOs of the REIT managers."

Topics that were covered during the forum included "The Malaysian Economic Landscape 2023 Outlook", "The Impact of Global Recession on Southeast Asian Economies", and "ESG and what it means for REITs", followed by "Meet the Malaysian Real Estate Investment Trusts" (M-REITs), where the M-REIT chief executive officers shared insights and views on current challenges and the future outlook for their own REIT vehicles.

One of the three key presentations at the forum was given by British author and economist Professor Douglas McWilliams — on the current state of affairs of the global economy and its impact on the Southeast Asian region. The forum also had six-panel discussions on the office, hospitality, healthcare, education, industrial and retail sectors, involving 30 industry leaders and specialists.

The statement said M-REITs saw rapid growth, with their market capitalisation almost quadrupling from RM9 billion in 2010 to RM38 billion as of Sept 30, 2022. With 19 REITs in Malaysia, the statement noted that the vehicles have become a significant component of the capital market.

“The M-REIT market is now 17 years old, and has achieved a market capitalisation of RM38 billion. It has matured and provided its unitholders with steady growth in distribution, dividends and capital value with minimum volatility. Despite the challenges faced by members of the M-REIT industry over the two-year Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, our members responded brilliantly and still paid their distributions throughout," he said.

He also noted that the REIT industry will continue to face challenges, but added that players are prepared and will prevail.

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