This week, Nareit participated as both a speaker and virtual exhibitor during the Georgia Public Pension Trustees Association’s (GAPPT) Trustee School. The 2020 edition of the school was held virtually for the first time since its inception seven years ago.
Meredith Despins, Nareit’s senior vice president, investment affairs & investor education, spoke on a panel as part of the school’s continuing education curriculum, contributing a perspective on how commercial real estate has responded during the COVID-19 crisis through the lens of the REIT industry. Despins’ primary message to pension trustees was that while COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the commercial real estate that supports how society works, plays, shops and lives, it remains a fundamental asset class and should be included in pension investment portfolios.
Citing Nareit internal research, Despins stressed that the REIT industry entered 2020 with relatively solid operating fundamentals and financials; and as a result, has been well-positioned to weather COVID-19 stressors. Despins noted that investing in REITs provides pension fund investors with an important diversification opportunity, delivering benefits to long-term pension investment portfolios by helping to build portfolio value and manage risk.
More than 200 representatives from 40 Georgia public pension systems participated in the 2020 school, including Board Trustees, investment staff, and administrative staff. An additional 50 representatives from the institutional investment consulting and investment management community participated as faculty.
(Contact Meredith Despins: firstname.lastname@example.org)