11/17/2023 | by

Nareit’s REITworld: 2023 Conference convened more than 1,200 REIT leaders and industry professionals Nov. 14–16 in Los Angeles. Nareit wishes to extend its appreciation to the event’s 22 sponsors, including platinum sponsor Raymond James.

Continue reading for a recap of the general and concurrent session presentations as well as the awards that were given out at this year’s event.

REITs Seen Making Gains in 2024, Although Challenges Remain

2023 REITworld lunch panel onstage
(L-R) Nareit 2024 Chair Matt Kelly, CEO, JBG SMITH; Jeff Horowitz, Global Head, Real Estate, Gaming, and Lodging, BofA Securities; Kerry Johnson, Co-chair, U.S. Real Estate Sector, DLA Piper LLP; Rick Romano, Managing Director, PGIM Real Estate; Steve Sakwa, Senior Managing Director and Senior Equity Research Analyst, Evercore ISI.

Investor perspectives on REITs and the capital markets was the theme of the first lunch general session at Nareit’s REITworld. Nareit’s 2024 Chair Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG SMITH moderated the panel, which also featured: Jeff Horowitz, global head, real estate, gaming, and lodging, BofA Securities; Kerry Johnson, co-chair, U.S. real estate sector, DLA Piper LLP; Rick Romano, managing director, PGIM Real Estate; and Steve Sakwa, senior managing director and senior equity research analyst at Evercore ISI. Read more about this session.

AI and Data Analytics Are Shaping Capital Allocation for REITs

Proptech Panel
(L-R) Laurel Durkay, Head of Global Listed Real Assets, Morgan Stanley; Rukevbe Esi, SVP, Chief Digital Officer, AvalonBay Communities; Chris Sharp, CTO, Digital Realty; and James Whalen, SVP, Chief Information & Technology Officer, BXP.

At REITworld’s second lunch general session, REIT leaders discussed how new technology developments, including AI and data analytics, impact revenue management, customer acquisition, ongoing maintenance and repair, customer experience, and capital allocation. Laurel Durkay, head of global listed real assets at Morgan Stanley, moderated the session. Panel participants also included: Rukevbe Esi, senior vice president and chief digital officer at AvalonBay Communities; Chris Sharp, chief technology officer at Digital Realty; and James Whalen, senior vice president and chief information and technology officer at BXP. Read more about this session. 

From Risk to Opportunity: Preparing REIT Communities for Climate Change

Risk to Opportunity Panel
(L-R) Jessica Long, SVP of Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Nareit; Matthew Eby, CEO & Founder, First Street Foundation; John Kempton, Senior Consultant, FHS Risk; Michael Chang, VP of Energy and Sustainability, Host Hotels & Resorts; Joanna Frank, President & CEO, Center for Active Design & Adai.

This session centered on REITs using data and climate risk management strategies to mitigate climate change effects. Panelists discussed the modeling and data resources available to help understand how extreme weather risks are affecting property valuations; the importance of assessing and implementing climate risk mitigation strategies on a property-by-property basis, and the leadership opportunities for REITs to develop and integrate environmental, social, and governance strategies within their businesses, buildings, and communities. Speakers included: Michael Chang, Host Hotels & Resorts; Matthew Eby, First Street Foundation; Joanna Frank, Center for Active Design & Adai; John Kempton, FHS Risk; and Jessica Long, Nareit.

Investor Perception Study: How Generalist Investors View REITs

Generalist Investor
(L-R) Abby McCarthy, SVP, Investment Affairs, Nareit; Gene Rubin, President, Rivel Research Group; Tamara Fischer, Executive Chair, Board of Trustees, National Storage Affiliates.

During this panel, attendees gained insights about the evolution of the generalist investor landscape and how REITs can develop a narrative targeted to those investors. Speakers highlighted the change in generalist investors’ perception of REITs over the past five years; the key metrics and factors that drive value for generalist investors; the importance of keeping investor presentations simple; and the need to give investors a meaningful amount of time with REIT management. Speakers included: Tamara Fischer, National Storage Affiliates; Abby McCarthy, Nareit; and Gene Rubin, Rivel Research Group.

Economic Outlook: Performance of REITs and the Broader CRE Market

Economic Outlook
(L-R) John Worth, EVP, Research & Investor Outreach, Nareit; Archena Alagappan, SVP, Senior Analyst, Neuberger Berman; Thomas Arnold, Academic Director of the MS in Real Estate Program, Chapman University; John Bellows, Portfolio Manager, Western Asset Management.

In this session, panelists focused on the macroeconomic environment and how REITs will fare in 2024. Speakers discussed the Federal Reserve’s path forward as it ends its tightening cycle; the divergence between public and private real estate market valuations; the tactical advantages that the valuation divergence offers REIT investors; expectations for REIT performance in 2024 and 2025; and the outlook for different REIT sectors. Speakers included: Archena Alagappan, Neuberger Berman; Thomas Arnold, Chapman University; John Bellows, Western Asset Management; and John Worth, Nareit.

Washington Update: Policies and Government Affairs Affecting REITs

Washington Update
(L-R) Cathy Barre, EVP, Policy & Public Affairs, Nareit; John Jones, SVP, Government Relations, Nareit; Robert Dibblee, SVP, Government Relations, Nareit; Steven Lowrey, VP, Government Relations, Nareit.

During this panel, attendees learned about the latest legislative and policy developments that may affect REITs. Panelists discussed the legislative issues that Nareit is monitoring; Nareit’s policy priorities; the current political dynamics in Congress; key issues facing legislators; and the political factors shaping the 2024 election. Speakers included: Nareit’s Cathy Barré, Robert Dibblee John Jones, and Steven Lowrey.

Inclusive Innovation: How Socially Focused Strategies Drive ROI in CRE

Socially Focused Strategies
(L-R) Shumeca Pickett, Founder & Principal, Alfred Dewitt Ard; Anita Battle, DIB Senior Manager, Equity Programs, Equinix, Inc; Anna Malhari, COO, Veris Residential; Jamaal Wright, Real Estate Impact Investing Asset Management Associate, Nuveen Real Estate; Carey Roberts, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Compliance Officer, Ventas, Inc.

In this session, panelists focused on how REITs can create an organizational culture that makes everyone feel valued and the benefits that creates. Speakers talked about the need to have clear, common definitions for social responsibility terms; the importance of implementing meaningful initiatives that make sense for where a REIT is in its social responsibility journey; and the benefits of conducting regular employee surveys and working with third party social responsibility experts. Speakers included: Anita Battle, Equinix, Inc.; Anna Malhari, Veris Residential; Shumeca Pickett, Alfred Dewitt Ard; Carey Roberts, Ventas, Inc.; and Jamaal Wright, Nuveen Real Estate.

In addition to hosting sessions and panel discussions, during the conference, Nareit announced awards for the industry’s sustainability work, social responsibility efforts, and leadership of and achievement within the REIT industry:

Edward J. Fritsch and Tony M. Edwards Honored with REIT Industry Leadership and Achievement Awards

Fritsch Award
(L-R) Nareit 2023 Chair Lisa Palmer,  President & CEO, Regency Centers Corporation; Edward J. Fritsch, Former President and CEO, Highwoods Properties; Nareit 2024 Chair Matt Kelly, CEO, JBG SMITH.
Edwards Award
(L-R) Nareit 2024 Chair Matt Kelly, CEO, JBG SMITH; Tony M. Edwards, Senior Executive Vice President, Nareit; Nareit 2023 Chair Lisa Palmer,  President & CEO, Regency Centers Corporation.

Nareit Announces Recipients of 2023 Leader in the Light Awards

Leader in the Light Award
(L-R) Jessica Long, Nareit; Steven A. Wechsler, Nareit; Natalie Teear, Hudson Pacific Properties; Sormeh McCullough, Digital Realty; Rick Klagstad, Vornado Realty Trust; Evan Regan-Levine, JBG SMITH; Suzanne Fallender, Prologis; Karen Cusmano, Veris Residential; Anna Malhari, Veris Residential; Mark Theine, Physicians Realty Trust; Libby Langenderfer, Physicians Realty Trust; Leann M. Mester, Physicians Realty Trust; Jordan J. Ivans, Physicians Realty Trust; Joe Russel, Public Storage; Conor Flynn, Kimco Realty Corporation.

Nareit Announces Recipients of Fifth Annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recognition Awards

DEI Award Winners
(L-R) Carey Roberts, EVP, General Counsel & Compliance Officer, Ventas, Inc.; Steven A. Wechsler, President & CEO, Nareit; Anita Battle, DIB Senior Manager, Equity Programs, Equinix, Inc.; Anna Malhari, COO, Veris Residential; Karen Cusmano, Senior Vice President, Head of Sustainability & Environmental, Social and Governance, Veris Residential; Ayris Scales, SVP, Social Responsibility & Global Initiatives, Nareit.

Nareit also announced the nine non-profits that will receive inaugural grants from the Nareit Foundation’s Dividends Through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Giving Campaign.

DDEI Donors Infographic

Save the date for REITworld 2024 in Las Vegas Nov. 19–21, 2024, and sign up here for program and registration updates.

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