REAL ESTATE - The Asian Public Real Estate Association (APREA) has made progress in its representations on local market practice in Singapore.

It is now looking to develop its activities across the region, with the appointment of a new chief executive and plans to de-centralise operations. Some key names have also joined the association, taking its numbers after 18 months of operation to over 70.

APREA announced in March that is was looking to appoint a chief executive officer. The role has now been taken by Peter Mitchell, formerly a Senior Legal Advisor with Colin Ng & Partners in Singapore. Meanwhile, APREA’s former executive officer, Lachlan Gyde, is now director of retail development for the Marina Bay Sands project on Singapore.

Mitchell was already an active member of the APREA management team and will now concentrate on directing the association’s development, including the move to more de-centralised activities.

He says: "It is our intention to establish chapters in certain key markets. Progress has already been made in Hong Kong, Japan and India. The committees will still function on a regional basis, but the chapters will have very important roles to perform in membership growth and handling of local issues."

A target of 85 members was set for the end of 2006. With the addition of some major players such as CapitaLand (Singapore), ProLogis (Japan), Macquarie Goodman (Australia), Link REIT (Hong Kong) and Lend Lease (Australia), the total is now over 70.

Mitchell reports the association’s Regulatory and Liaison Committee has made successful submissions to the Monetary Authority of Singapore regarding improving and speeding up the secondary offering and REIT IPO processes.

APREA is also assisting an MAS task force on aspects of the proposed new REIT manager licensing regime to be introduced in Singapore next year. And through Ernst & Young’s Beijing office, APREA is assisting the committee in China charged with developing regulatory and tax policy for a national securitisation market.

Improvements to the indexing of Asian property are also being encouraged. Mitchell says: "Many listed property companies and REITs would like to see improved benchmarking and a specific Asian listed property index or series of indexes. APREA is hoping to make an announcement on this issue shortly.