So the trend now is to co-invest with others. I can see why they cringe at that prospect, playing a side-kick, but there's no choice. Take a slice of existing projects or be ready to follow a REIT model. Hey, hang on. Our regulators are still mulling a legislation. Here are some inadequacies from the draft code –
I have one more question. Last year Blackstone acquired Equity Office Properties (a REIT controlled by Sam Zell) for $39 billion. A little later the real estate market collapsed in the US and Blackstone started selling off these assets in a hurry to minimize the dent. Now, how much sense will a close ended scheme in the draft regulations envisage in a sector that’s infamous for its vicious cycles? What if the closure date happens to be in a phase when the prices have hit bottom?
a) SEBI Act in its current form does not permit REIT to be regulated by it. It needs to be amended;
b) Proposed regulation talks of only close ended schemes, yet call for listing of REIT units in a Stock Exchange. But REIT units do not come under the definition of`securities’ under Section 2(H) of SCRA that regulates listing of securities. Go, amend SCRA now.
c) Unlike MF schemes that deal in securities, REITs deal in real estate directly. They own pieces of real estate and live off its rental and capital gains. SEBI has to think hard over its mastery over this new domain.
Normally we hold RE assets for a very long time. Like family jewels, RE asset in India is legacy stuff that keep rolling down generations. When it’s a long term asset, why not leave those REIT schemes open ended?