The British Property Federation (BPF) is to establish a taskforce to “maintain the momentum” of its campaign for UK REITs.
Given that legislation allowing the first UK REIT from January next year is likely to pass this month, it is less clear what the BPF taskforce will campaign for.
BPF CEO Liz Peace told IPE Real Estate: “The legislation is just the start. It took the US 40 years to get REITs right and in the UK we have a new finance bill every year.”
She said the taskforce, headed by Slough Estates CEO Ian Coull, would focus in the short term on issues around unlisted REITs and REITs listed on AIM – and she expressed optimism that an industry lobby of government would eventually be successful.
“It isn’t all black-and-white with the government,” she said. “We have an ongoing discussion with them, and I’m confident they’ll come around to our way of thinking.”
As well as regulatory change, the taskforce will monitor cross-border issues with the potential to disrupt investment flows, and lobby for a level playing field for other investment vehicles, including authorised investment funds.
Another of the taskforce’s functions will be to provide a common platform for the industry on REITs-related issues.
“We need to harness our members’ views for a common purpose,” said Peace. “As an industry we need to have a single voice on the issue of REITs but we’re a group of well-informed people from the industry and it may evolve into other things.”