04/10/2013 | by
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Nine REITs have been deemed to be among “America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” from Forbes magazine.

The 2013 edition of the annual list reviewed more than 8,000 companies. From residential to office to government buildings, the REITs on the list come from a diverse group of sectors within the real estate industry.

Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: EDD), Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) and Realty Income Corp. (NYSE: O) made the list of large-cap companies. 

The mid-cap category included American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC), Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN), BRE Properties (NYSE: BRE), Government Properties Income Trust (NYSE: GOV), Highwoods Properties, Inc. (NYSE: HIW) and Post Properties (NYSE: PPS).

“It is a great honor to receive this designation and be recognized for our core values and guiding principles of integrity, honesty and openness in serving the needs of students, parents and our university partners while creating value for our shareholders,” said Bill Bayless, American Campus CEO.  
Forbes hailed the companies for their openness and integrity. Forbes partnered with GMI Ratings (GMI) to identify the most transparent and trustworthy businesses that trade on American exchanges. The 100 companies all have market caps of $250 million or more.

“What these companies have in common is what they don’t have, problems that indicate elevated risk,” said James Kaplan, chairman of GMI, in the Forbes report. “Those problems can range from high executive compensation or incentives that are not aligned with shareholder interests to inconsistent application of accounting principles, or the occurrence of negative events.”

In creating the list, GMI assigned each company an accounting and governance risk score (AGR). The firm then rated 15 percent of the companies with the highest AGR scores as “conservative” and the 10 percent with lowest scores as “very aggressive.” There’s direct correlation between a company’s AGR assessment and the likelihood of negative events affecting it, such as class action litigation, SEC enforcement measures, bankruptcies, and poor stock price performance, according to GMI.