As part of a new strategic investor outreach program initiative in the Middle East, Nareit and the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) recently visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to meet with institutional investors.
In total, meetings were held with seven important investment organizations within the region. A highlight of the trip were meetings and briefings with two of the four largest sovereign wealth funds and the largest pension fund in the UAE. Currently, these sovereign wealth funds and the pension fund are investing largely in private real estate. However, representatives of EPRA and Nareit were encouraged by the receptivity of these organizations to meaningfully increasing their allocations to listed real estate, including REITs, in order to complement their current real estate investments.
As a key element in making the case for adding listed real estate to their portfolios, EPRA and Nareit representatives used illustrations from separate research studies conducted by CEM Benchmarking. These studies use actual pension plan performance data to demonstrate that the correlation between listed and private real estate is 0.92, the volatility is comparable, and on the net basis, listed real estate has exceeded that of private real estate by nearly 3 percent per year.
Nareit and EPRA also participated in the Bloomberg Invest Abu Dhabi 2019 Conference. This event brought together over 200 of the leading UAE and global asset managers to discuss the investment outlook for the Gulf Region and beyond.
Nareit EVP of Research and Investor Outreach John Worth was joined by: Kurt Walten, senior vice president of investment affairs and investor education; Dominique Moerenhout, EPRA CEO; and Ali Zaidi, EPRA director of research and indexes.
A joint trip between EPRA and Nareit is under consideration for 2020 to continue building engagement with institutional investors in the Middle East, including key sovereign wealth and pension funds in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.