Wechsler and Fritsch

NAREIT in China (left to right): NAREIT President and CEO Steve Wechsler and 2016 NAREIT Chair Ed Fritsch of Highwoods Properties discuss the U.S. REIT regime during a seminar in Beijing on Oct. 17. The event was co-hosted by NAREIT and the Asset Management Association of China.

Earlier this month, 2016 NAREIT Chair Ed Fritsch, president and CEO of Highwoods Properties (NYSE: HIW), led a delegation of senior executives and U.S. REIT industry stakeholders on a trip to China for a series of events with investors and regulatory officials.

Joining Fritsch from NAREIT were Steve Wechsler, president and CEO; Michael Grupe, executive vice president for research and investor outreach; and Bonnie Gottlieb, senior vice president for industry and member affairs. The delegation also included former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, chair of Albright Stonebridge Group; Michael McTiernan, partner with Hogan Lovells and former assistant director of the division of corporation finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Ray Beeman, principal with Washington Counsel Ernst & Young and former tax counsel and special advisor for tax reform with the House Ways and Means Committee; Peter Verwer, CEO of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA); Mark Howard-Johnson, managing director and global head of real estate securities management with BlackRock; Jon Cheigh, executive vice president with Cohen & Steers; and Jim Sullivan, president of advisory and consulting with Green Street Advisors.


NAREIT in China: Speakers at the NAREIT-AMAC seminar.

NAREIT and the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC) co-hosted a seminar in Beijing on Oct. 17 that covered the REIT approach to real estate investment, as well as the evolution and performance of the U.S. and Asian REIT regimes. NAREIT’s representatives spoke on various panels during the seminar. Approximately 125 people were in attendance at the event, which was followed by a private dinner in the evening. Prior to the meeting, NAREIT representatives met with Li Chao, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.


NAREIT in China: Wechsler (far left) moderated a panel at the NAREIT-AMAC seminar on how to invest in REITs in the U.S. and around the world. Participants included (left to right): Jim Sullivan, president of advisory and consulting with Green Street Advisors; Jon Cheigh, executive vice president with Cohen & Steers; Mark Howard-Johnson, managing director with BlackRock; and Zhao Lei, CEO of Lion Capital Management.

The following day, the NAREIT delegation held a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus. They discussed NAREIT’s outreach in China to institutional investors, real estate investors and policymakers.

The delegation attended the annual conference of the China REITs Alliance, with which NAREIT entered into a cooperative relationship in 2014. Wechsler delivered one of the keynote speeches at the event, while Fritsch participated in a panel on distinguishing “real REITs” versus “quasi-REITs.”  Howard-Johnson and Sullivan appeared on a panel that examined institutional investors’ views on REIT investment.

On Oct. 19, the NAREIT representatives met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Finance to discuss the development of REITs in China.

Following the meetings in China, Wechsler and Gottlieb traveled to Kyoto, Japan, for a meeting of the Real Estate Equity Securitization Alliance (REESA) on Oct. 21 hosted by the Association for Real Estate Securitization (ARES), a REESA member which is chaired by Mitsui Fudosan Co. Chairman and CEO Hiromichi Iwasa. REESA also includes APREA, the British Property Federation (BPF), the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA), the Property Council of Australia and the Real Property Association of Canada (RealPAC).

The meeting included discussions on:

  • Financial and sustainability issues;
  • An update on the creation of a sector for real estate under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) and the implications for future REIT investment around the globe;
  • REESA projects on the measurement of global commercial real estate assets and the development of a database of global REIT regimes;
  • A proposal by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to counter tax avoidance;
  • And updates on current activities and developments in each of the REESA member organizations.

(Contact: Bonnie Gottlieb at bgottlieb@nareit.com)

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