GICS Change a “Watershed Moment” for REITs, says NAREIT Chair

Ed Fritsch, 2016 NAREIT Chair and president and CEO of Highwoods Properties, Inc. (NYSE: HIW), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWeek 2016: NAREIT’s Investor Forum at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Half-way through his term as 2016 NAREIT Chair, Fritsch observed that fundamentals across the REIT industry are “healthy.”

“Balance sheets are improved, dividends are fortified (and) interest in investment is strong,” he noted.

Fritsch also described the upcoming elevation of real estate to a new headline sector under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) as a “watershed moment.”

REITs will make up the lion’s share of the new real estate classification of GICS, he pointed out.

“It’s full recognition and testimony to what real estate and Equity REITs have become as an industry,” Fritsch said.

Meanwhile, Fritsch said that in addition to GICS, the REIT industry is monitoring global developments, including the United Kingdom’s European Union referendum on June 23. At home, November’s general election, as well as the latest pronouncements from the Federal Reserve, will consume attention, he added.