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REIT General Counsels Studying Communication with Boards

04/24/2014 | By Allen Kenney

Brad Molotsky, executive vice president and general counsel with Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN), joined REIT.com for a video interview during REITWise 2014: NAREIT’s Law, Accounting and Finance Conference held in Boca Raton, Fla.

Molotsky moderated a session at REITWise on the most pressing issues facing general counsels in the REIT industry. He was asked to name the issue at the top of that list.

“It depends on who you are and where you are in the cycle,” he said. “Different food groups have different hot buttons.”

However, Molotsky noted that dialogues and modes of communication between company executives and their boards of directors are a major area of interest. Molotsky said more interactions are being done via portal “for ease of transmission.” Molotsky pointed out that some of Brandywine’s board members serve on multiple boards.

“Having one place to get information for different boards that they’re on is a much easier delivery system,” he said. In general, according to Molotsky, REITs are working on updating the “architecture” of their information-technology systems.

Sustainability issues are getting more attention in the current environment, including attention from investors, according to Molotsky. Additionally, he said the complexity of questions about sustainability is increasing.

Another area that Molotsky said general counsels have identified as one to watch: social media. Molotsky noted that companies are working on the best ways to distinguish company time from personal time. Furthermore, more REITs are using social media platforms for messaging, which raises questions about who’s managing them.

One key issue that really never goes away is staffing, according to Molotsky.