REITs Should Highlight Their Uniqueness in Effort to Engage with Generalist Investors

Jonathan Keehner and John Roe, partners at strategic communications and investor relations firm Joele Frank, were guests on the latest edition of the Nareit REIT Report podcast.

Nareit has worked with Joele Frank to create a Communications Toolkit with a framework for developing an effective communications strategy for generalist investors. It was recently distributed to Nareit members.

Keehner described what he sees as a “real disparity between the dedicated investor group and the generalist group.” To help alleviate that gap, he suggests REITs “hit the reset button” and really focus on communicating what makes their company unique.

“It’s about introducing the story and making it compelling, it’s about leveraging the exciting aspects of a portfolio to draw in a new audience,” Keehner said. At the same time, he recommends that REITs take a fresh look at their IR exposure: “It’s [about] doubling down on the existing investor base and then thinking creatively about ways to engage with a new investor base.”

Roe, meanwhile, highlighted the growing importance ESG factors play in investment decisions. REITs, he noted, have done a “great job” in recent years to overcome institutional investor nervousness from a governance perspective. Now, the environmental and social aspects of ESG are becoming increasingly important as more and more assets move into index or passive fund strategies.

Other topics in this podcast include best practices for engaging with index funds, shareholder activism, and ways for small companies to engage with their top shareholders.