PLSA to host groundbreaking conference

Posted On Tuesday, 18 July 2006 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The Property Loan Stock Association (PLSA) will be hosting its first-ever management, REITs REALITY – towards a REIT environment in South Africa – on 16th and 17th August at the Sandton Convention centre.

Norbert SasseSouth Africa lags behind major world markets in the shift to a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) structure. PLSA members support the re-positioning of the listed property sector towards a REIT environment and are leading the change process.

In furthering this, the PLSA, with sponsor Investec, is hosting REITs REALITY, a two-day senior management conference addressing moving towards a REIT environment in South Africa. The conference will take place on 16 and 17 August 2006 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

This conference will equip delegates with a comprehensive understanding of the impact and implications of adopting a REIT structure in South Africa.

Through this event the PLSA offers direct access to an unprecedented panel of leading international industry speakers, supported by key local figures.

International speakers include Richard C Anderson, director of Real Estate Investment Trusts at BMO Capital Markets, New York; Sam Zell, founder and chairman of the largest REIT group in the US, Equity Office Properties and Equity Residential; Sarah Cooper, director of equities at Credit Suisse in Australia and John J Kriz, managing director of Retail Finance at global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, New York.

The South African speaker panel includes Norbert Sasse, chairman of the PLSA and CEO of Growthpoint Properties; Sam Hackner, CEO of Investec Private Bank and chairman of Growthpoint; Mike Flax, CEO of Spearhead Property Group; Colin Young, head of asset management, Old Mutual Properties; Ernest Mazansky, director of Werksmans Tax; Andrew Brooking, director of Java Capital; Mike Berman, CEO Velocity Trading and Jon Zehner, head of sub-Saharan Africa, JP Morgan South Africa.

Property Analyst for First South Securities Leon Allison comments that if one of the focuses of the South African listed property is – as it should be – attracting international investors, then it is vital to have a standardised structure and the most appropriate vehicle is the REIT.

“While the current listed property structures (PLS and PUTs) are not dissimilar to the REIT, conversion to this standard vehicle has clear benefits, certainly in terms of tax,” says Allison

He adds that when competing in the global investment market, keeping it simple is the key and this can be achieved through offering a familiar structure. “Global investors need to look at many markets, across many different countries and having to examine unfamiliar structures and dealing with complicated explanations can be a deterrent. Adopting a standardised REIT structure overcomes this,” notes Allison.

François Viruly of Viruly Consulting believes that in many respects the South African listed property sector is at the forefront internationally, even surpassing countries such as the UK. “It is critical that we have conferences such as the PLSA REITs Reality which provide a broader perspective than that we are used to accessing in South Africa,” says Viruly.

“The listed property sector, and REITs in particular, will increasingly become the vehicles in which properties are held, as opposed to traditional direct ownership.

Progressively more investors are crossing national boundaries and looking for investment vehicles with a familiar structure and similar levels of governance,” explains
Viruly who stresses that South Africa needs to provide a product that is well known and has been tested internationally.

Vuyani Bekwa, head of institutional investments at Investec Listed Property Investments stresses that the South African market has a well-developed listed property sector, which has mimicked REITs in a number of ways, with just a few issues outstanding, such as capital gains taxation.

“The move towards the conversion of all listed property sector instruments into REITs is a good move for the sector. It will align the South African markets with international norms, as REITs have been adopted since the 1960s in the U.S., 1969 in the Netherlands and 1972 in Australia,” says Bekwa.

Bekwa believes that once converted, international investors will invest locally in an asset class which they understand and that will increase the demand for the listed property sector, as yields locally are generally higher than in developed markets such as United States, Europe and Australia.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 10:19

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