M-REITMA receives endorsement from 11 REITs

KUALA LUMPUR: The first national association of real estate investment trusts (REIT) managers has been endorsed by local REITs today.

The Malaysian REIT Managers Association (M-REITMA), set up to represent the M-REIT sector and promote inter-sector dialogue, received the endorsement of 11 REIT managers today, the association said in a statement on Nov 26.

This recognition will enable the industry to communicate with the Malaysian authorities and regulators on “functional regulations, viable structures and tax harmonization to make Malaysian REITs competitive regionally and internationally” as well as continue attracting capital to the Malaysian capital markets, said the association’s protem committee chairman Stewart LaBrooy.

According to LaBrooy, there are 13 listed REITs with a market capitalisation of RM5.4 billion as of mid November 2009, with more listings anticipated in the next few years.

“There is therefore an urgent need to review the current industry guidelines which are not conducive to the growth of M-REITs especially in the areas of raising of new capital and withholding tax,” LaBrooy added.

LaBrooy, who is vice president of Axis REIT Managers Bhd, said the association also has the following objectives:

  • Create an environment for more investments to be injected into high quality real estate in the country,
  • Establish a framework for the development of the REIT industry as well as to coordinate investment opportunities and networking in the region,
  • Improve transparency in the areas of corporate governance, disclosure and financial reporting, training and discussion groups,
  • Analyse legislation and government policies, and;
  • Provide quality market research and information to both local and international investors.

M-REITMA is currently awaiting full status and approval from the Registrar of Societies which is scheduled to take place in 2010, according to LaBrooy.

The 11 REITs that endorsed the association are AmFirst REIT, AmanahRaya REIT, Atrium REIT, Axis-REIT, Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT, Al-Aqar KPJ REIT, Hektar REIT, UOA REIT, Quill Capita Trust, Tower REIT and Starhill REIT, he said, adding that these were listed under the new Securities Commission guidelines in January 2005.

There are presently seven members in the association, with the 11 REITs expected to join the association, he added.

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