MUMBAI: Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), which promotes and represents the real estate asset class in Asia, recently convened an international symposium on REITs in India, to support both the extensive work it has undertaken to promote real estate investment trusts (REITs) and the momentum in the local industry wishing to see the establishment of REITs.

APREA has for many years regularly promoted the establishment of a REIT market in India and has recently presented detailed submissions to the country's regulators. International and local industry leaders (from APG Asset Management, Admiral Investment, GIC Real Estate, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, ICICI Prudential Asset Management, Kotak Investment Banking, Herbert Smith Freehills, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nishith Desai Associates, IDFC, Ernst & Young, CBRE and Religare Investment Advisors) discussed the important elements of REITs and the benefits and opportunities in India. Admiral Investment presented a new APREA research report on the impact that REITs have had on Asian economies.1

SEBI intends to re-launch REITs on the alternative investment fund (AIF) platform by creating a category to help investors subscribe to REIT units. Like mutual funds, these units will also invest in rent-income-based real estate assets, and may be listed or unlisted. In line with the worldwide practice of operating REITs, SEBI proposes that 90 percent of the income generated from REITS be distributed as annual dividends. Incidentally, the AIF is established or incorporated in India in the form of a trust or a company that collects funds from investors.2

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