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REIT managers showcase RM10b industry to Sabah retail investors

KOTA KINABALU: Members of the Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA) on Friday, July 29 showcased the country's RM10 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) industry to retail investors in Sabah as part of the association's nationwide free investor information and education outreach event.

Called "REITs: The Alternative Investment Tool For Your Wealth Creation", the roadshow's main aim is to educate the public on the benefits of investing in REITs compared to the traditional method of keeping one's savings in fixed deposits.    

The investing public will also be informed on how REITs can lower the risk of their investment portfolios whilst enhancing returns.

As REITs are a new asset class, the MRMA takes the role of investor education seriously as it feels that the investing public is unfamiliar with the nature and the benefits of this alternative investment tool.    

"According to an industry research report, Kota Kinabalu has grown tremendously and is now home to about 48% of the three million population of Sabah.

"The city accounts for about 26% of Sabah's total GDP, and was projected to contribute about RM9 billion to Malaysia's GDP for 2010, ranking eighth among the country's urban areas," said Stewart LaBrooy, MRMA chairman and CEO of Axis REIT Managers Bhd, to reporters here.

He said Sabahans were now ready to look into REITs as alternative investments.

According to an industry report by the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), the Asian REIT market (ex-Australia) has topped US$100 billion (RM295 billion), reaching US$101.1 billion for the first time.

The market has recovered very well since the peak of the financial crises when it stood at only US$66 billion in March 2009.

The MRMA members participating in this roadshow are AmanahRaya-JFM Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd and Axis REIT Managers Bhd.

There are 14 REITs currently listed under the new SC Guidelines for REITs introduced in January 2005.

They are AHP (Amanah Harta Tanah PNB), 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, and the recently listed Sunway REIT and  CMMT REIT (Capitamall Malaysia Trust).

Sunway REIT and CMMT REIT were two of the biggest REIT vehicles to be listed on Bursa Malaysia with a combined asset size of RM5.83 billion.

MRMA was officially formed on May 21, last year to help represent the REIT sector, and one of the main goals of MRMA is to make Malaysian REITs competitive within the region and internationally in order to attract more capital to the Malaysian market. — Bernama

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